Create Healthy Holiday Habits One Meal at a Time

By Monique Minahan

cocktailsEver wondered why it's so hard to choose the carrots over the cookie when they're both right in front of you? We know the healthier choice, yet we often still make the unhealthy choice.

Here's some "food" for thought as we head into the next round of holiday gatherings, dinners, and parties.

Research shows that habits can develop from repetition and when an enjoyable event triggers the brain's orbitofrontal cortex, or "reward" center.

This explains why bad habits such as smoking, overeating, or addictions to social media can be so hard to quit.

Habits develop over time, whether good or bad, and change doesn't happen overnight. Once we've implemented a new routine, we need to continually strengthen our new habit because the old one doesn't go away. They both remain in our brains.

Researchers have found that exercising self-control regularly can help improve our self-control over time. Becoming aware of our unhealthy habits is the first step. The second one is devising ways to counteract them and replace unhealthy routines or habits with new, healthy ones.

This year resolve to exercise your self-control before January 1st. Having healthy and delicious options to choose from will make the task that much easier.

The choices are endless if you're looking for healthier versions of old favorites. I've created a To-Make list (way more fun than a To-Do list) of fun, delicious, and healthy recipes to get you through the holidays in great shape. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section below!

TO-MAKE:

  • Put your crockpot to work on dinner while you experiment with the fun treats above. Take your pick from these crockpot recipes that also happen to be gluten-free. I plan on trying the Mexican Pumpkin Soup.
  • Offer up some fun, nonalcoholic drinks at your next gathering. Find some great ones that use fresh fruit here.

Who doesn't love arriving at a holiday dinner and finding fresh, healthy food and beverages to choose from? Pour Honest Tea's Morrocan Mint Green Tea into decorative glass jars or add sliced lemons and oranges to water or fresh-fruit cocktails.

The best dinners to me are ones that I enjoy making, eating, and leave me feeling energetic.

Healthy habits are worth the effort. Our health is priceless, just like our families. Start making healthy lifestyle choices now and reinforce your good habits one meal at a time.

Monique Minahan is a writer, yogi, and lover of life. She's inspired by nature's simplicity and the healing power of love. She finds true liberation in living life fully from the inside out. Her intention is to offer her heart to the world through words that motivate, inspire, and encourage. You can visit her at her blog, mindfulmo.com

Photo credit: Kirti Poddar

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