Cultivating a healthy and happy holiday season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cultivating a healthy and happy holiday season

Here at Elevate we have been embracing all things Hygge since we lost that afternoon hour of light and the first snows started appearing on the forecast.

Hygge (pronounced Hoo-Ga) is all about cultivating cosiness, creating warmth, embracing intimacy and most of all, learning to slow down and have gratitude for the simple things in life. Foodwise, it's all soups and stews and cake and coffee. It is hot tea drinking, cocoa making, and creating slow cooked, hearty food surrounded by good people having great conversation.

And what better time of year than the holiday season, where every weekend there's a different Christmas-related work gathering, school event, pray-for-snow party or après- ski meet up. Sometimes all four.

The Danes explain Hygge as being kind to yourself. Allowing yourself a treat, taking a break from the demands of healthy living. … And yes, this season would seem like the perfect time to do that. However, the sad reality of the holiday season is that you often find yourself hopping straight from your desk, throwing on a sparkly sweater and jumping into a room piled high with festive sugar-laden cocktails and a vast array of fried appetizers, pastry products and bowls filled to the brim with candy.

How do you navigate these events one after the other without piling on the pounds, destroying your gut and maintaining your stress levels past New Year's Eve?

Here's a few tips on making healthy food choices and minimizing stress while ensuring you don't miss out on all the good stuff.

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Bring Your Own: Make your own apps to bring to the party. Keep them colorful and simple to save on time and maximize their appeal. Spending hours in the kitchen prepping a superfood-filled dish isn't always practical in the heat of the holiday craziness. Roast some root vegetables with herbs and spices and add a side of hummus to dip them in. Be sure to include beets for that pop of color.

Dust Off Your Slow-Cooker: When you're busy running from the mountain to work to a school event, you'll find you have less time to prep a good quality nourishing evening meal. Make healthy and smart choices by switching on your slow cooker. Add in some beef or chicken bones and you'll have the added benefit of creating your own bone broth as you simmer your ingredients all day.

Ask For Help: If you're the host of the party, ask people to bring a dish. Prepare only what you feel able, confident and comfortable to create and when people ask if they can help, let them. It's easy to pass off mixing, chopping or stirring duties. Take some of the pressure off yourself and enjoy the action of socializing with good friends in your warm kitchen space.

Eat Regularly: Eating regularly throughout your day means you won't be running straight from your desk to a holiday gathering hungry and ready to cram whatever the first thing you see is into your mouth. Make healthy choices during your day to keep your blood sugar stable and your appetite level — this will help you make better choices come the evening.

Make Healthy Food Accessible: To avoid the urge for quick sources of energy when we're running out of time to get somewhere, plan ahead. Prep some chopped up veggies, stock up on fruit and make some easy high-protein dips like guacamole or hummus and keep them in the fridge.

Stay Hydrated: Maintaining your hydration — especially after a day spent skiing — will help curb major sugar cravings and prevent overeating. Drink a glass of water before reaching for that second piece of cake and then reassess your hunger levels afterward.

Follow the 90-10 Rule: When sugar cravings hit and you're already on your third plate of food, fourth round of apps, or fifth cocktail, ask yourself an honest question — do I really want or need to eat this? Perhaps what you really need is some other form of nourishment: a warm bath, a cozy bed or some quality time with a good friend having a great conversation.

And don't forget: Holidays are meant to be a time of getting together, of slowing down, taking time to be with your family and friends. The Hygge viewpoint is to cultivate calm and quiet amongst the chaos. Throwing the perfect holiday party, finding the perfect gift, and ensuring you make it to every event, these aren't the things that matter most. Remember to focus on what matters most to you, and above all, find time for yourself this festive season.

Healthy Tahoe is a look at health-related topics that shape our community and is made possible through content provided by our sponsors.

About the Author

Tamsin Edwards is the office manager Elevate Wellness Center. Come and see the Elevate Farmacy and the Ohana Apothecary this winter to help keep yourself healthy. Schedule a 30-minute Herbal Consultation — contact us for more information. Find us at 2034 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe or online at http://www.elevate-wellness.com. Call us at (530) 541-WELL (9355) for appointments and further information.