The holidays can be absolutely exhausting.

I know, I know, it’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year blah blah blah. But it can still wear you down and trigger a cycle of sloppy, lazy habits to just get all the “stuff” done.

Between the challenges of travel, the higher cost of everything, and the potential for nuclear family dynamics, the holidays require a few super skills for staying well and balanced.

As a Culinary Wellness Coach, I have spent three decades teaching the power of food and habit for taking control of health and happiness.

Feeling happy and well is the foundation for goodness in every area of your life.

Here are some tried and true tips you can use to navigate the holiday season and stay healthy.

Kristen’s 9 Wellness Skills For The Holidays

  1. Drink before you drink. Dehydration is linked to over-eating, over-drinking, and horrible hangovers. It can also lead to stressful hangry encounters with friends and family. Shoot for 8-10oz of clean filtered water for 8-10 hours daily.
  2. Drink Less Sugar. Skip that gingerbread latte and have an espresso instead. Steer clear of the Sugarplum Cosmopolitan and stick with sparkling water, champagne, or tequila and soda with lime.
  3. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners. Nothing is worse for gut health than artificial sweeteners. They signal our body to extract more calories from our food and store it as fat. Nuf said.
  4. Eat Before You Eat. The only thing worse than being a thirsty drinker at holiday events is being a hungry eater. Avoid untamed noshing by pre-gaming with healthy snacks to prevent going hog on the buffet.
  5. Chew More To Eat Less. Start chewing. Thirty-two times a bite (32!) is considered the proper number of chews to enhance nutritional benefits, slow the eating process, prevent over-eating, nourish the gut lining and reduce the risk of gross bacterial overgrowth.
  6. Don’t Skip Meals. Skipping meals is a recipe for disaster and justifies a lack of self-control. We NEVER want to face the dessert table with low blood sugar. Instead, Drink Before You Drink and Eat Before You Eat! These are your superpowers for indulging in moderation.
  7. Eat the cake. Or the crab dip or whatever makes the holidays feel special. Moderation, not restriction, is the key to managing the whole smorgasbord of seasonal experiences. No, you can’t eat the cake every day until it’s gone, but you can enjoy a piece and make peace with yourself when you do. Then it’s time to have a glass of water and get back on track.
  8. Select natural, organic or biodynamic wines. Commercial wines are grown with excessive amounts of chemicals and produced with additives like sugar, flavorings and chemicals to make commercially produced wines addictively delicious. I always order clean-crafted natural wines for the holidays to ensure what I am drinking not only tastes delicious, but doesn’t contain any additives. Just wine made in the traditional way!
  9. Drink non-alcoholic cocktails. Bitters & Soda is a fun and easy way to sip something tasty with wellness benefits. The bitters at All The Bitter are produced without alcohol as a preservative and are made from medicinal-grade herbs and spices, including adaptogenic herbs that can elevate your mood. I am obsessed with their NEW Lavender Bitters. I use these all the time with club soda and lime, in hot water as a toddy, or even as a wellness tonic if I feel a cold coming on.

Get my stress-free holiday recipes here!

I am a passionate advocate for food as medicine, life navigator and culinary coach. This is my space for sharing what excites, inspires and motivates me to live my best life. It began as a recipe blog for nourishing, simple, weekday meals and has become something much bigger… a guide to resilient wellness. I am excited to share my knowledge of how daily habits can cumulatively help you to live like you mean it and age like you want to.