‘Tis the season to be jolly and as some people may say, ‘live your best life!’.

The fact that you’ve made it throughout what may have been a stressful year, and can now have a few days of rest in December, is something many people look forward to.

But what do your December plans look like? More eating, less exercising? Or are you continuing with your healthy living goals this month? Eating a salad while everyone is feasting on their favourite junk food may not necessarily be part of your plan for the month. And it doesn’t have to be.

Making healthier choices to keep your gut healthy and your heart happy this season does not mean that you should feel like you are missing out on all the fun. Here are a few tips to stay healthy this season:

Plan your meals

When nothing is planned, often anything goes. The last thing you need is to feel guilty from overindulging on a meal that you simply shouldn’t have. If you enjoy eating overnight oats, continue the trend. And if you’re joining a friend for breakfast, choose a healthier option to eat. It starts with the mind – when you tell yourself that you’re going to stick to your health choice no matter what, nothing can deter you from it and you will find that subconsciously, you’ve already made the decision to eat better this week.

Don’t skip the exercise

Apart from burning calories, exercise is a great way to release those happy endorphins to improve your mood. Make working out fun by getting your family involved and playing upbeat music to get everyone feeling extra motivated.

Snack smart

The festive season may mean that you have more time on your hands. Often when people are bored and they’re home, they snack. It’s just a natural thing to do. Keep your kitchen cupboards full of healthy snacks so that when you get the urge to eat something light, or on-the-go as you do last-minute shopping, you’re eating something healthy. Some of your light snack options can be biltong, crackers, fruit, veggies and nuts.

Rest often

Between shopping, wrapping gifts, preparing meals and visiting loved ones, you may find your schedule filling up quite quickly. But between the hustle and bustle, make time for yourself. Get enough sleep, and don’t feel guilty about taking afternoon naps. Drink water throughout the day to allow your body to recover from the busyness of the day before.

Indulge in healthy recipes

When you cook healthy food, you are more likely to eat better. Instead of spending lots of money dining out, make home cooked meals. There are tasty recipes that require minimal effort and do not compromise on flavour or satisfaction. There are a range of healthy recipes out there to satisfy any sweet or savoury craving this season. 

The festive season is the season of giving. As you give love, energy, gifts and time to others this month, make sure you reciprocate that to yourself so you can maintain a healthy body and mind this season.

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