Holiday Health: Avoid Santa’s Bowl Full of Jelly!


So here we are. In the midst of the holiday season! The Shelby’s had our tree up before Thanksgiving and are slowly accomplishing the rest of the decor. This time last year I was avoiding the gym at all costs and baking holiday goodies any chance I got. This year I have been really slacking on my baking due to my desire to get to crossfit as often as possible. And if you think I am about to come home and then stand on my feet for two hours decorating cookies after I’ve just had to beg my legs to keep moving even though they turned to spaghetti noodles 15 minutes prior, you are nuts.

Jess's leg

He’s going to kill me for this….

Jess had knee surgery a couple weeks ago and because of that he is unable to workout. That in itself is pure punishment for my poor husband who thinks that once his doctor releases him to workout again, he will have to start back at zero with his crossfit performance (he’s insane). So, to stop him from any further depression, I am ensuring that the food around our house is as healthy as possible to keep him fit until he can start back again. Fortunately, this holiday season at the Shelby Home is quite different than usual and we are remaining somewhat normal with our diets.

 However, I do realize that all my blog peeps out there have different priorities and temptations  this holiday season. There are offices with holiday treats coming in and out all month long,  those who are obligated to 15 Christmas parties between now and December 25th, and of course families with several kids who have several parties and celebrations during this month.  Not to mention my poor mommas who have to actually BAKE the goodies for the parties. Oh and let’s not forget those out there who have ridiculous amounts of Christmas shopping to do, with zero time to do it in. The advent calendars that are intended for excitement and good fun suddenly turn into real life illustrations of your nerve-wrecking anxiety, as you watch the time tick away and still more tasks are being added to your To Do List. We all know that something is going to have to be removed in order for you to fit it all in….and that something is more than likely going to affect your healthy living.


Fortunately, Kinsey is not having any Christmas parties at school this year. 🙂

CLEARLY if you are anyone who is breathing, you will be tempted with unhealthy foods and/or forced to make lifestyle changes to accommodate the holiday season.  I have chosen to provide some tips for celebrating in a moderate way, with the goal of avoiding a bowl full of jelly…. long after Santa has come and gone!

  1. MAKE A PLAN. If you walk into a party unarmed, you will discover a food wonderland of delicious dips, desserts, and casseroles. During your mingling sessions (and maybe some awkward silences) don’t be surprised to find yourself overeating… and all the wrong foods. To prevent the mental bullying session that is bound to happen afterwards, plan ahead. Know going in that you will only allow yourself to have a specific amount of these delicious items, and include serving sizes! Or better yet, eat ahead of time so that food may not be the #1 interest while you are there. Even consider packing a small nutrient dense snack of your own in case your stomach decides to betray you and start rumbling in starvation. I am not advising you to completely avoid the great dishes at the party, because you will always catch me eating some. I am just saying to have a game plan and stick to it to prevent being caught off guard and regretting your actions.
  2. RETHINK YOUR DRINK. This is a phrase we use a lot with kids when explaining the nutritional difference between good drink choices and bad drink choices. But the idea fits here as well.  This is a season of celebration and if you want to drink a little, who am I to say otherwise? The goal here is to be conscious of what you are drinking. If you are going to a party and know you are going to “have more than one” then my advice is to avoid picking up the Budweiser or full fat Eggnog and go for light mixed drink options (rum and diet sprite anyone??) or even have some red wine and claim the heart benefits. Also, remember to have at least 8 ounces of water in between each alcoholic beverage to help with those hangovers and keep you from indulging too much.
  3. GET TRICKY WITH EXERCISE. It’s totally understandable that you aren’t at the gym as often as usual during the holiday season. But the gym is not the only place to get exercise. Figure out ways to get short bouts of physical activity in throughout the day. Park at the end of the parking lot at the mall (you are probably forced to anyway with all the holiday madness), walk to the mailbox rather than pulling the car up beside it when pulling in the driveway to get those Christmas cards, do an extra lap around Hobby Lobby when buying Christmas decor, commit to 20 jumping jacks after each gift wrapped, use your child’s Elf on a Shelf for dumbbell curls…… kidding. But you get the idea. There are ways to burn a few extra calories, you just have to think outside the box.
  4. STAY ON ROUTINE. Just because the neighborhood Christmas parade is Monday night, the church Christmas pageant is Wednesday night, and little Suzie’s basketball Christmas party is Friday night DOES NOT mean that you should avoid making a healthy dinner prior to these events. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you should avoid the grocery store all week long and get fast food every night because “it’s just such a busy week.” Try to maintain a healthy meal schedule as often as possible during the holidays. The honest truth is that the weight gain doesn’t come from the Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day pigout sessions with family and friends… it comes from the lack of meal and nutrient consistency during all the other days in between. Just because you know you messed up and ate 3 pieces of pie on Thanksgiving DOES NOT mean you should continue to eat pie for dessert every night until 2014 because you think you’re doomed to have to buy bigger pants anyway.

Make sure to stay tuned after the holidays for some exciting news!



One thought on “Holiday Health: Avoid Santa’s Bowl Full of Jelly!

  1. Pingback: | Holiday Health- by Constance Shelby, MS, RD, LD

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