For many of us, the holiday season means that daily routines are put on hold. While we’re busy enjoying parties, school concerts, holiday traditions and visiting family and friends, important things like healthy eating, exercise and down time can get pushed aside.
I did a little research and found some ideas for having a healthier and happy December:
Making Food Preparation Easier
December is a great time to renew your friendship with your slow-cooker. While you’re out all day long, shopping or visiting, it is busy cooking you a lovely dinner. You walk in your front door and the house smells like a lovely feast! Here are some sites to try:
- Food.com has a list of their top-rated slower-cooker recipes.
- These slow cooker Maple Baked Beans are delicious.
- AllRecipes.com has a list of vegetarian slow-cooker recipes to have you eating healthy all months long.
In addition to your slow cooker, you can make some meals ahead. Here are some meals that you can double. Try making one for dinner tonight and freeze the other half to have on a busy day:
- Chili – how about this recipe for a “Cowboy Chili and Baked Bean Pot”?
- Baked spaghetti – cooked noodles, smothered in tomato sauce freeze very well.
- Beef and Carrot Stew or a Chicken Stew would warm you up on a cold night.
And lastly, some good comfort food is always welcome in December. If you haven’t made it yet, you should try Bake Potato Soup. Put on a pot today. You won’t regret it!
A Little Pre-Planning
You can do a lot of things in November or early December to make the rest of the month go smoothly. Some ideas:
- Pop on a favourite movie, print out your Christmas card address list and get those cards done! If you’re really keen, you can even stamp the addressed cards and have them waiting by the front door to be mailed the next day.
- Pre-bake freezer-friendly treats to have on hand later for entertaining or gifts. Things like sugar cookies, jam-filled thumbprint cookies, and gingerbread cookies freeze beautifully and you can pop them out whenever you need them.
- Buy multiples of gifts. For example, you can have several bottles of wine on hand to give as hostess gifts or the same gift cards to give to each of your child’s teachers.
My family runs on Google Calendar. My husband and I each have our own calendars, plus we have calendars for the kids. (I also have calendars for each of my creative teams, but that’s a whole other post!)
I love that I can check my husband’s calendar (and vice versa) to make sure that we avoid scheduling conflicts and overextending ourselves.
You can check out more about Google Calendar in Steph’s post here.
Moving More in December
I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t my area of expertise. But, here are some ideas to get us all moving this December:
- Build a snowman. Or a whole snow-family!
- Take part in your favourite winter sports: ice skating, skiing, snow-shoeing…
- Clean the house. (I can get a lot of cleaning done while listening to The Digi Show on my iPod.)
- Hop on that treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical machine in your basement. Make the time go faster by watching a favourite Christmas movie or listening to music.
- Go for a winter walk and enjoy the neighbourhood Christmas lights.
Making Time for Down Time
I love the busy holiday season and visiting with family and friends. Some of my favourite memories though are the quiet ones spent at home with my family.
- I look forward to quiet evenings spent with the fireplace on and two little kids snuggled up with me on the couch while I read The Night Before Christmas out loud.
- We listen to Alan Maitland’s recording of The Shepherd each December. It wouldn’t be the holidays without it.
Those are some of my holiday survival tips. If you have some tips (or recipes!) please tell us in the comments.
Just a note – no affiliate links were used in this post.