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5 ways to stay healthy this holiday season

The festive season is traditionally a time for drinking too much and eating way above your own body weight.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The main risks to overindulgence can be avoided.

You can keep a little healthier than you normally would at this time of year.

Dietitian Mbali Mapholi shares five ways to have a healthy holiday season.

Stay hydrated

Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. Aim to drink at least six glasses of water or low-sugar drinks that count towards your daily water intake. Out of sight, out of mind.

Keep water easily accessible e.g. keep a water bottle close by, and a refill water in the fridge, make low sugar homemade ice teas that adults and kids can enjoy.


Try to keep to your normal sleeping routine as much as possible. This applies to children as well. Aim to get good quality sleep, which is at least six hours of sleep a night. Under-sleeping may lead to being tired, which in turn can cause us to overeat. Rest! Naps can also be very useful.

Take time for yourself daily

The festive season allows us time to be with family and friends. However, it has been about 20 months of physical distancing and not spending as much time with family and friends.

Meeting up with family and friends now could even be more stressful than before. This may cause you to embark on mindless eating and snacking.

Allocate at least 30 minutes daily for yourself. You can spend this time on a walk, meditating, journalling, listening to music, which are non-food-related activities.

Slow down during meals

Practice mindfulness during mealtimes. Slow down and chew your food thoroughly. Avoid distractions such as using your cellphone while eating or watching television.

Eat elsewhere -- away from any distractions -- and engage in meaningful conversations or thoughts if you are eating alone.

Get outside

Festive seasons or summer holidays are packed with family and friends’ activities, but some people may choose to spend it alone, resting. This may result in hours of binge-watching and couch “potato’ing”.

Sitting for hours like this may result in mindless eating or snacking. Get at least 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure each day. This will help maintain good vitamin D levels and improve your moods.

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