The holidays can be such a terrific time with family and friends, but potentially also a stressful time because your usual routine of activities can be thrown off.

Stay calm for your health over the holidays

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The holidays can be such a terrific time with family and friends, but potentially also a stressful time because your usual routine of activities can be thrown off. If you are managing a chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease or Crohns disease, the holidays can really throw a wrinkle in the control of your glucose levels or blood pressure readings or how your GI tract is feeling. Here are some reminders to make the holidays a calm and fun time of the year, without a negative impact on your health

Nutrition Reminders

  • Be sure to maintain a mealtime routine. That means eating three modest-size meals and if desired, small healthy snacks.
  • Meals should be balanced in nutritional content, so that means plan to include a lean protein, starch and fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Keep refined processed and sweet foods to a minimum.
  • Stay well-hydrated with water throughout the day.

Health Reminders

  • Enjoy a daily walk or physical activity with the family like a hike or biking.
  • Take your prescribed medications.
  • Get a good night of six to eight hours of sleep.

I know that these sound like simple ideas for handling the holidays but really the key is to maintain, as much as possible, your normal routine. Everything can be thrown off during the holiday season, especially if you have house guests or are traveling.

Traveling presents unique health challenges, too, especially if you are switching time zones. That can alter the routine that you usually keep with your medications, and eating and sleep times. You’ll need to maintain some type of schedule so that everything stays in balance.

Have a plan before the holidays arrive. Sit down with your family to work things out. And be sure to enlist your family and guests with meal preparation tasks. Most everyone loves the connection time in the kitchen.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.