Thrive This Holiday Season: Eat & Drink for a Healthy Mind & Body

 The busiest time of the year is here, yet again! Decorations, shopping, gifts, parties, and food. The month of abundance (overabundance, to some) has arrived and I’m going to share with you my tips for eating and drinking to survive it all with a healthy mind and body.

The holidays stir up a wide range of emotions for many people. Whether you’re happy or sad, excited or anxious, joyful or depressed…food can either help you feel your best or really drag you down. What you eat can, and does, affect how you feel. And with the season tempting us with more sweets and alcohol than we are usually faced with, this time of year becomes the most challenging time of year.

In my 10+ years as a personal trainer and dietitian, I’ve learned quite a bit about eating and drinking during the holidays.

This comes from life experience working with clients and patients as well as personal experience overcoming my personal food struggles. The tips I share here are a collection I’ve gathered from my studies and my experiences. And I know that if you apply one or more then you will walk through this holiday season with a healthy mind and body!

 

 

 

 

 Set limits to your alcohol

Alcohol, although fun and festive, is a depressant. It depresses not only your mood but also your energy, your liver function, and your body’s ability to metabolize fat. If you know you’re going to an event and will be enjoying a few cocktails or glass of wine, set your maximum to three drinks. Make it a priority to begin with a glass of water and then a glass between drinks. This helps with hydration but also slows your intake. Carbonated water with a splash of lime is refreshing and tasty!

 

Enjoy dessert but don’t overdo it

The holidays seem to spike our interest in desserts as if they are exotic treats from far off lands that we’ll never see again. Prepared with magical sugar and made by tiny fairies so, yes, we must enjoy as many and as much as we can. Now. And then they pop up everywhere so we snag more and more until we eventually don’t care that we’ve eaten an entire dessert spread over the course of a few weeks. So as tempting and delicious as so many sweets are, I encourage you to choose and few and savor them.

Excess sugar can take its toll on your mind (hello mood swings!) and body (blood sugar spikes and drops really play a number on your energy) and therefore should be avoided if you want to thrive. It took me years to realize that we are capable of obtaining sweets 365 days a year so there’s no need to shove them all into 30 days. And honestly, many sweets are store-bought and not that special. I say go for the homemade goodies and enjoy a few!

 

 

Hydrate your gorgeous body

Water should be the primary beverage you are drinking all day long. Excess caffeine from sodas and coffee leave our bodies feeling wired yet tired. Not only do they displace our water intake but they give us a burst of energy only to leave us with a crash hours later. Evaluate what your intake is now, and reduce it. Honestly, soda has zero benefits (even diet soda) so it’s in your best interest to wean yourself from it completely. Enjoy a cup or two of coffee and then indulge in water the rest of the day. Your skin, your eyes, your entire body will glow with hydration and you’ll notice your energy will be stabilized throughout the day.

 

 

 Get sleep and stay active

For some reason, December arrives and all of a sudden we are too busy to take care of ourselves because we are so busy doing all things HOLIDAYS! We stay up late, skip workouts, and we disrupt our sleep with alcohol. It’s far easier to go to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier than it is to add that time in the morning so cut off electronics early and snuggle up to get your rest. I guarantee that a rested body will allow you more energy for staying active and co tell your hunger hormones so you’re not diving into the cookie tray twelve times!

As for staying active—make a commitment to yourself to do something at least five days a week. That allows you room for travel and events that are planned or pop up. And you don’t have to hit the gym for every workout. A quick 20-30 minute high-intensity workout, yoga, or an hour walk are all excellent choices to keep your body moving. If you have time and love the gym, do that! I sure do! Do what you enjoy and will keep you moving.

 

These are just a few major ways you can help yourself sparkle and shine this holiday season. Incorporate them now and with practice, they will become part of your life throughout the year.

 

This was a guest post written by my dear friend, Amanda.

 

Amanda is a full-time stay-at-home-mother, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and former personal trainer. She loves the outdoors, spending time with her husband and daughter, and living a healthy lifestyle with room for croissants.

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Oh-So Yummy {And Toddler-Approved!} Elderberry Gummies

Goodbye Summer! The end of summer, for me, is a bit bittersweet– I’m always said to see the warm, sunny days go away, but on the other hand, I love the cool, crisp autumn days and seeing the beautiful fall foliage around me. (And do I need to mention, pumpkin spice lattes?!)  Yes, I’m a sucker for everything fall.

 

 

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

But what I’m not a sucker for is my kids getting sick. The cooler weather always brings on those seasonal ickies– Mother Nature’s reminder that it’s officially time to put the swimsuits away–the dreaded cold and flu season.

During this time of the year, I would rather stay in my house every single day then to risk exposing my kids to a potential germ. However, that is not possible and since nobody has invented a human bubble yet, my plan has been to load my kids up with vitamin goodness.

Which brings me the reason for my post: Elderberry gummies.

I will tell you how to make them…keep reading!

Last winter, I discovered the amazing benefits of Elderberry syrup. Holy moly. I swear by this stuff now. I really do. My I’m a believer story is when I was feeling a sickness coming on, so I took a tablespoon every 2 hours– I kid you not when I say that I felt better the next day. No Advil, Day or NyQuil needed! Elderberry syrup has since been stocked in my fridge ever since.

 

all that yummy goodness!!

 

With the cold/flu season approaching, I wanted the syrup in full-stock for my family, but I also needed an easier way to make sure my two toddlers were getting the goodness into their tiny bellies. Because if you have toddlers, you know how, *ahem* difficult, they can be.

It’s when elderberry gummies came into my mind– so I began to research how to make them. It turns out, making your own elderberry gummies is INSANELY easy. I mean, really, really, stinkin’ easy. And wayyy cheaper than buying them already made.

Before you make your gummies…

You will need elderberry syurp. I make my own because again, it’s so insanely cheap and easy.

Here is my favorite (and I’m tried quite a few) recipe that is tasty and equally easy to make!

courtesy of Wellness Mama

2/3 cup dried elderberries, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen

  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (local honey is best)

Instructions

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
  4. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  5. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  7. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  8. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  9. Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

Notes

Standard dose is ½ tsp – 1 tsp for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

 

Now, what you have all been waiting for…..

 

recipe adapted by Coconut Mama

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons gelatin
  • 1/4 Cup Homemade Elderberry Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 Cup water

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of elderberry syrup with gelatin.
  2. Let the gelatin sit in the water for a minute or until it gels up.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan on low heat. You want the water to be hot but not boiling.
  4. Pour the hot water over the gelatin mixture.
  5. Use a whisk and mix the ingredients together.
  6. Add the honey and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour mixture into molds.
  8. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.
  9. Store fruit snacks in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Take 2-3 gummies a day for optimal well-being!

 

toddler approved by my picky three-year old (:

 

 

I’m happy that I could share with you my trusted and well-loved recipe for elderberry gummy bears. These gummy bear vitamins will help keep your little ones healthy this cold/flu season.

Did you make these? I want to hear what you think in the comments, please!

 

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