Happy Holidays!

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2012

Written by Lindzie O'Reilly

Congratulations on completing another semester at the University of Guelph! With exams now finished, I hope that you can take some time to relax, visit friends and family, and enjoy delicious food this holiday season.   While the holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation, multiple holiday meals plus the transition from living in a student environment to travelling or living with your family again can be very stressful for many students.   If holiday stress is something you struggle with, try changing your approach to the season this year to bring some joy back to your holiday.

Tips to staying healthy this holiday season

  1. Join in on grocery shopping with your family

    The transition from living alone or with roommates to living with your family can be tough if their eating habits are very different from yours. Take a trip to the grocery store and stock up on familiar foods and snacks. If you are travelling or visiting friends, bring easy-to-pack snacks along.
  2. Take the opportunity to try a new recipe or two

    While at school, the eating habits of many students are limited by time, by cooking ability, and by a lack of kitchen space or kitchen appliances. Try helping your friends or family with meal preparation over the holidays. You may learn a thing or two that you can then bring back to Guelph with you in the New Year. Try choosing a new recipe and making it for your family or friends – it is often easier to try a new recipe when you are sharing it with a group as opposed to cooking for one.
  3. Accept that there will be indulgences over the holidays

    It is unrealistic to diet or restrict your food choices over the holidays. Attempting to do so will only result in feelings of deprivation and food guilt. Instead, have the foods you love, savour them and really enjoy them. There are some things that only come once a year! Put it into perspective – what you do the other eleven months of the year is really what determines your health.
  4. Eat often during the day

    Many of us try to limit our food intake during the day when we know there will be a large holiday feast in the evening. Eating less during the day, however, will result in increased hunger and cravings by the time you get to dinner. This is one of the most common triggers for over eating and overindulgence. Instead, aim to eat your usual meals and snacks all day long so that you arrive at the dinner table feeling just a little hungry. This way you will have more control over your food choices and your portion sizes. You will be able to choose to have a piece of your favourite cake, rather than feeling the urge to eat the entire cake!
  5. Eat mindfully

    Slow down and really be aware of what you are eating. Pay attention to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. Be aware of the influence of others. Many people eat more in social situations. This could be because you are more excited, more anxious, because you feel pressured by others to eat, or because you are snacking without realizing.
  6. Stay active

    Getting outside and getting some fresh air will have a positive effect on both mood and energy levels. Rather than a dinner date to catch up with friends, try going for a walk together or going skating.
  7. Resolve to be healthy and well in the New Year

    If you choose to make a New Years resolution, make sure it is a resolution that is realistic, sustainable and motivated by health. As soon as the Holiday commercials end, the diet commercials begin. Don’t fall into the trap of setting a weight-related goal. Instead, set a behaviour related goal that will help you achieve personal health and wellness in 2013.


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