By Laura Bollinger, RDN
Can you believe Christmas is almost here?!
It is likely your calendar is already full of get-togethers with family, friends, or co-workers. While it is a wonderful time of year to celebrate the birth of Christ, you may also be dreading the jam-packed calendar.
Many, if not all, of these events will center around food. It can seem that everyone wants to give you meals, snacks, sweets, or gifts of food.
Consider trying something new this year! Instead of indulging in all of the celebratory foods, set a trend to stay healthy and give the gift of health to those around you.
There are so many aspects of health that the ways we can give healthy gifts are nearly limitless! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Handwritten hope. A simple and inexpensive gift that may be more appreciated than many pricier gifts is a handwritten note from the heart. The holidays can be a very difficult time for a variety of reasons. If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one or can’t be near their closest family and friends, consider sending them a letter. Show them they are valued and supported through your words of encouragement.
Power voucher. Another simple gift could be a voucher for unlimited hugs. The power of a hug can be quite amazing but we are often reluctant to ask for an embrace. Giving vouchers for hugs invites your loved ones to ask for a hug when they otherwise may not.
Gift a meal. Between work, celebrations, kids’ pageants, etc., this can be a very busy time of year for many of us. Consider taking a meal to someone you know who is extremely busy or may even be secluded in their home because of the weather. Next time you make a soup, stew, or casserole, simply double the recipe and give half as a gift.
Deck the halls. Decorating can be a fun family event! Share this fun by gifting your decorating skills to someone else. Ways to do this include going to pick out a Christmas tree, decorating the tree, hanging Christmas lights, or hanging garlands and wreaths. Brighten their home or office with decorations this season.
Give generously. As a member of Medi-Share you are helping Christians bear the burden of their medical expenses every day. One way to give the gift of health to your fellow members is to give to the Extra Blessings Program. Members receiving these funds are often facing serious medical procedures or diagnoses and your gift can help them through it this holiday season.
While these gifts may seem simple, the support and love that comes with them may be exactly what is needed in the midst of the holiday flurry.
There are, of course, many gadgets which support health that can be excellent gifts as well.
- Bodyweight Resistance Straps – you may have heard of TRX classes; these straps allow you to use your body weight at different angles for an excellent workout. Check out this review to find the best set for your gift recipient.
- Resistance Loop Exercise Bands – with a variety of resistance bands from mini-loops to pull-up assist bands these are a great lightweight way to exercise anywhere life takes you.
- Gym Membership – support a desire to exercise with a membership to a local gym. Know someone that travels frequently yet wants to join a gym? Consider a membership such as ClassPass or TrainAway which allows travelers to take a class or grab a day pass at a nearby gym wherever they are.
- App Membership – the market has recently been flooded with apps providing workouts for all fitness levels and of all varieties including prerecorded and live streaming. The hardest part is likely choosing which app is right for you and your budget.
Don’t forget to give yourself the gift of health as well!
Maybe you’ve worked all year to achieve your health goals and suddenly the holidays threaten to sabotage all your hard work. There’s no shame in caring for your mind and body by sticking to your healthy habits. Who knows, you may just inspire those around you to stick to their goals or develop new healthy habits!
You can, of course, still enjoy each and every holiday gathering you are invited to. Simply decide to celebrate in a different way.
Try these tips to stay healthy at your holiday parties:
- Bring a healthy recipe to potluck gatherings
- Choose a healthy option from restaurant menus
- Eat a healthy meal or snack before the party
- Skip the desserts or limit it to just one
- Enjoy non-alcoholic spritzers
- Go for a walk before and/or after gatherings
- Don’t skip meals the day of the event
Prepare yourself for negative comments. Not everyone will agree with your choice to stay healthy through the holidays. They may not understand why you are choosing health or they may feel threatened by your choice.
Others may intentionally or even unintentionally attempt to dissuade you from your commitment to your health. They may say things like, “it’s just one meal, it won’t kill you” or, “I made this just for you!” or even something such as, “do you think you’re better than me?”
Practice how you will respond in these situations or conversations and have simple answers ready so you can stick to your goals and enjoy the celebration. A response as simple as “I made a commitment to myself” may be all that’s need to disarm the person questioning you and allow you both to return to the party. Remember: the celebration is about Christ and doesn’t require indulging in the extravagances.
One of the best ways to stick to your health goals this holiday season is to start each day with a healthy, satisfying breakfast. Give this breakfast bowl a try and enjoy healthy happy holidays!
Pomegranate Banana Quinoa Bowl
1 1/3 cups Quinoa
2 cups Water
1 medium Banana, peeled & sliced
¼ cup Pomegranate Seeds
¼ cup Low-fat or Plant-based Plain Yogurt
4 teaspoons Honey
Rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add quinoa. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted and dry. Add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 12-15 minutes or until tender and water is absorbed.
Divide warm quinoa evenly between four bowls. Evenly top with approximately 5 slices of banana, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, 1 tablespoon plain yogurt, and 1 teaspoon honey.