Year of the Healthy Nurse December: Health for the Holidays
For the final installment of the Year of the Healthy Nurse campaign, the American Nurses Association (ANA) brings to light the many ways you can keep your health on track for the upcoming New Year and all the resolutions you may want to make. Although eating a well-balanced diet this time of year sounds nearly impossible, between your friends’ annual cookie competition and the glistening glazed ham that’s in your oven, there are many helpful hints to keep in your back pocket at every holiday gathering.
Stay active: You work long hours and are on your feet all day. Fitting in moderate exercise can be tricky, no matter what time of the year it is, and that’s where multi-tasking comes in handy! Put on your favorite step tracker and head to the mall to buy for everyone on your list. You can challenge yourself to finish shopping in record time, and then take a few extra laps around the mall. If you prefer to avoid crowds and online shop instead, find a gym buddy and make time in-between holiday gatherings to meet up for a spin class or two.
Eat more (often): Many people prepare for a big holiday meal by sacrificing breakfast and lunch. By skipping these two important meals, you’re setting yourself up for overfilling your plate and your stomach. Choosing healthy options for breakfast and lunch, such as fruit and cottage cheese, almonds, or celery and hummus, will set the tone for your meal later and keep you on the right track.
Bring the crowd favorite, with a twist: If you’re worried there won’t be any healthy options at your family’s holiday party, offer to make something new! If your aunt insists you bring your specialty, there are still culinary tricks you can use to spice up the dish in a healthy way. By substituting sugar with honey, oil with applesauce, and sour cream with Greek yogurt, your dish will have a secret nutritional superpower with the same great taste. With a well-balanced plate, you will definitely earn that extra sliver of your favorite pie.
Guilt-free indulgence: Eat an extra serving of your guilty pleasure; you’ve earned it! The holiday season is a special time with friends and family, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like you overdid it for a meal or two. You can always make up for it later on by packing healthy lunches for the next week or scheduling an extra session with your personal trainer.
Tis the Season
In addition to the culinary temptations that you will cross paths with, it’s also the time of the year when everyone you know seems to have the sniffles. The CDC offers a few tips for reducing your risk of food poisoning and foodborne illnesses to help you remain in top shape so you can enjoy all of your holiday festivities.
- Wash your hands! As a nurse, you always have this habit as a high priority every day; in the kitchen, it’s surely no different. Germs can still spread, so don’t be afraid to remind family members to scrub their hands a little bit longer before stuffing the turkey.
- Make sure your meats, seafood, eggs, and poultry are cooked all the way through by using a food thermometer. You can find the temperature guidelines here.
- Stay away from raw cookie dough, pie crust, and anything with flour and uncooked eggs to avoid the risk of E. coli and salmonella.
- Ensure no perishable dishes are left out at room temperature for more than two hours to eliminate bacterial growth.
Hungry for more tips? Join the Challenge!
If you’re not registered with the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) Grand Challenge through ANA, click here to join! This network of registered nurses offers support, health assessments, and helps you stay accountable to all the health and wellness goals you set for yourself all year long, not just the holidays. ANA reported that less than half of all nurses get their recommended servings of fruits, veggies, and grains. You’re not alone in your struggle to find that nutritional balance; become part of a network of friends and colleagues working towards a brighter future for themselves.
How do you maintain a healthy, holistic lifestyle around the holidays? Share your favorite tips and recipes on our Facebook page or share in our comment section below!