The holidays are a time to celebrate, reminisce, and reflect. Although the holidays may bring about aromas of freshly baked gingerbread and apple pie, a healthy holiday season is far from impossible. These five #holidayhacks are not tips and tricks to “survive the holidays,” but rather strategies to find balance and enjoy your favorite holiday traditions while maintaining your health and wellness goals. The holidays are a time to be grateful, not a time to feel guilt and pressure about maintaining our health. With these simple #holidayhacks, you can enjoy a fulfilling, joyful, and health-ified holiday this winter season.


  1. Get up close and personal with your kitchen.


Choose to cook or bake whenever possible, as opposed to purchasing store-baked cakes and cookies. When you cook your own meals, you infuse each morsel with whole fresh ingredients carefully packaged with love. Processed products are chock-full of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavoring. Even your favorite chocolate truffles are packed with preservatives and artificial ingredients. Choose your kitchen every time!


  1. Contribute your own health-ified side dish, entrée, or dessert to the annual family dinner.


Share your crafty cooking skills and healthy recipes with family and friends. Substitute chicken, vegetable, or mushroom stock for endless amounts of butter and oil when sautéing vegetables or roasting meats. Use alternative ingredients that are lower in sugar and fat to bake your favorite holiday cookies. Instead of adding ½ cup of sugar and 3 sticks of butter to your holiday brownie mix, try a mixture of black beans, banana, and organic cocoa powder as the foundation for your recipe. Try baking apples in the oven with a pinch of cinnamon and homemade granola to create your own version of a health-ified apple pie. Healthy does not necessarily equal less tasty. Health-ified treats may just require some additional recipe research and ingredient prep, so get excited to spend some time in the kitchen and show off those cooking skills. Ask your friends and family members to identify the secret ingredients. Black bean brownies taste nothing like ordinary black beans; it is always fun to share these health-ified tips and tricks with others!


  1. Embrace the 12-minute holiday home workout.


Wake up 12 minutes earlier than your family and friends, and try this simple holiday home routine which features a combination of high intensity cardio and body weight strength training.

Round 1: Jumping jacks (1 minute), Side plank (1 minute – 30 seconds on each side), Squat jumps (30 seconds) Break 30 seconds

Round 2: Walking lunges (1 minute), Forearm plank (1 minute), High knees (30 seconds) Break 30 seconds

Complete Rounds 1 and 2 twice with 30 second water breaks between each round. Finish your workout with a series of glute bridges to strengthen your glutes, quads, and back, along with a minute of stretching. Working out in the morning will help set your holiday up for success while giving you positive energy for the day ahead!


  1. Be mindful when building your plate.


Plate piled high with holiday ham and sweet potato casserole? Maybe swap a spoonful of that marshmellow topping for an extra helping of veggies. Rather than counting calories, strive for balance. Make your plate colorful. Seek out fruit and vegetable platters. Identify your carbs, proteins, and fats. Dinner rolls and mashed potatoes may be fine in moderation, but without any significant form of protein, you will still be leaving the dinner table hungry! Find the balance in a 2:1 ratio. One piece of an extravagant treat plus two healthier options makes for an excellent combination of tastes, aromas, and textures.


  1. Walk and stand.


Go for an after brunch, lunch, or dinner stroll. Walking and standing burns additional calories and works your cardiorespiratory system. Walking and standing also keeps your muscles fresh. Sitting at the dinner table for hours tightens your hip flexors and negatively affects your posture. Grab your favorite uncle and ask him to tell you that story as you stroll around the block a few times. This simple #holidayhack will make a world of difference!

Have a #holidayhack you would like to share? Words of motivation? Simple at-home fit tips? Healthier holiday recipes? From December 23rd until January 3rd, capture your favorite #holidayhack this season and share with the BurnThis community via the BurnThis app. Don’t forget to use the #holidayhack when you share your pictures on the BurnThis app. The most creative #holidayhack will receive a FREE series of at-home HIIT winter workout routines from Fit & Focused U.

Health-ify Your Holiday With These Five Simple #holidayhacks!

By Ashley M Nickelson