While the holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, staying healthy during these few weeks can be a challenge. Between stuffing ourselves with Christmas cookies, having all of our free time taken up by holiday parties, and dealing with cold weather that makes it hard to even get up each day, health is not usually at the top of our mind. Fortunately, there are little things you can do to have a healthy holiday — without having to completely cut out dessert.


Chew gum.

Cooking can often get you into trouble when trying to eat healthy. Tastes here and there as you prepare the meal can quickly add up. To avoid licking the cookie batter out of the bowl, pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth. This will satisfy a sweet tooth without adding extra calories throughout the day.


Use smaller plates for better portion control.

With so many dishes to pass around the table, we often bring out the big plates so everyone can fit everything onto one. Stick with small plates. If there is less room to fit food, you can’t overdo it on the marshmallow-covered candied yams.


Eat slowly.

Chew your food well and put down your fork in between bites. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize you are full, so if you eat quickly, you will get in more calories in that short time. By slowing down and enjoying every bite, you will eat less and prevent uncomfortable indigestion.


Have one less drink.

Alcoholic beverages are not friendly to a healthy diet. Whether it’s eggnog, beer or sugary cocktails, drinking several of these can add hundreds of calories to your day without making you full or providing much nutritional benefit. We aren’t saying don’t have any fun at your holiday parties, but be mindful of how many liquid calories you are putting in your body night after night.


Drink more water.

Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you don’t need to replenish your fluids. Drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated, which aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also helps ward off that pesky winter cold by flushing toxins and germs out of your body. Plus, as a bonus, if you drink a full glass of water before sitting down to Christmas dinner, you will feel fuller faster and eat less.


Along with these suggestions, try to get in a few workouts, take your vitamins, and get a regular sleep during the holiday season. If you follow these tips, you should set yourself up nicely for health in the new year.