Around the holidays it is easy to let a daily routine of healthy eating and exercise fall by the wayside. It is a stressful time of year trying to fit in celebrations, work commitments, exercise, visiting relatives and more. A few key tips can make the holiday season more enjoyable.

Eat what you love

Holiday gatherings are filled with lots of food. Look at all your options before filling your plate and be selective. Skip the store-bought dishes and choose your favorite homemade holiday foods. Choose a few treats, then fill the rest of your plate with fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. For example, if you know you’ll want a few of your grandmother’s cookies, be sure to add some veggies to your dinner plate. Prepare a healthier holiday dish to bring to the event, something that you would like to eat. For healthy holiday recipes, visit:

Enjoy the company in addition to the food

Remember parties are about more than just food. Play charades, a board game, or watch a favorite holiday movie. Use this opportunity to catch up with friends at a party or with visiting relatives. Try to arrive at a party hungry, but not starving. A great distraction to mindless eating is making sure to break up the event with conversation with family and friends. For more tips on savoring your food, visit:

Get outside

Create opportunities for movement as part of the holiday celebration. Take kids to local sledding or ice skating spots or build a snowman. If relatives are visiting, ask them if they’d like to take a walk to see the holiday lights or take them on a hike or snowshoe outing (should our landscape be graced with some of the requisite white stuff). Community members can borrow free snowshoes in a variety of child and adult sizes from Waldo County General Hospital. Visit for snowshoe trail ideas, instructional videos and to fill out an online snowshoe request form.

Keep smiling

We spend a lot of time trying to please others — going to every party, finding the perfect gift, cooking everyone's favorite foods, etc. House guests and holiday parties can be tiring. Try to do something for yourself each day to keep you in the holiday spirit. Go for a walk or run before the relatives wake up, read a book, get a manicure, or take five minutes to breathe deep in a quiet place. Remember, you can excuse yourself from some activities to have some alone time, take a nap, or go to bed early. Remember, the holidays are about enjoying time with those we love.

— Guest editorial submitted by Hester Kohl, health and wellness coach at Waldo County General Hospital.