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Healthy holiday season tips from the Health Promotion Team

The Health Promotion Team at Peninsula Health gets together at the end of 2020. Photo: Supplied. 

This year our team had a chat about some of the things we like to do in our own lives to stay healthy, safe, happy and hydrated over the summer holiday season.

And then we thought, why not compile and share all of our ideas, and potentially offer some inspiration for others? If any of these stand out to you, we encourage you to make them your own and use them throughout your own holiday season.

So here goes.

Josh starts every day with 5-10 minutes of a few simple exercises or stretches to get the blood pumping first thing in the morning: “You don’t need any equipment, just use whatever space you have available to do some squats, sit-ups or body stretches. Make it really easy to start with, and when it becomes part of your morning routine, you can increase what you do over time as you get more comfortable.”

Nikki loves to give memories and is mindful, when buying gifts, to take an ethical approach to consumerism (see ‘The Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Purchasing’). She also likes to keep in mind ‘The Rule of 4’ , offering a guideline on the ‘amount’ of gifts we give (less is more), as this helps to bring appreciation and value to what we receive (see ‘4 Gift Christmas Challenge’).

Andie likes to enjoy her holiday season by taking some simple actions to prioritise her wellbeing. “Setting a daily intention and being mindful of my energy and where my attention goes. I do this through daily yoga, walks in nature or on the beach, mediation and lots of water and fresh, healthy foods. I don’t make any plans, I just take each day as it comes. On NYE I spend the day doing a vison board for the year ahead.”

Taking in a sunset is a great way to engage in mindfulness. Photo: Supplied.

Eva offers these three tips:  

    • Keep active: “Knowing that over the Christmas and New Year period I tend to indulge a bit more on holiday treats, I aim to make the most out of the good weather and get active a little bit every day. Whether that be walking to the shops instead of driving, riding to my family and friends houses nearby, or going for a short swim at the beach.”
    • Get creative with a Mocktail (can be an alternative to sugar sweetened beverages and alcohol):
      “Using my soda stream (also great for reducing plastic waste and saving money), I love to create a refreshing summer Mocktail. My current go to is fresh lime, mint and frozen blueberries!”
    • Try healthy recipes: “I love this Baked Chicken Cous Cous Salad (pictured below): Chicken breast – season, lightly pan fry for colour, then bake in oven until cooked through. Carrot – grate and cook in saucepan with a little bit of olive oil/ spread. Garlic – finely chop, add to carrot and cook through. Cous Cous – add water to the garlic and carrot mixture, bring to boil then add cous cous and cook (can use chicken or vegetable stock). Spinach – once cous cous is fluffy, stir through spinach. Make a cucumber and tomato salad – cube, season and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with a drizzle of greek yogurt on top and toasted flaked almonds or pine nuts.”

Try making this delicious Cous Cous Salad. Photo: Supplied. 

Thea says, “last year I made a fruit Christmas tree! It’s healthy and made a great centre piece for the table. Inspiration came from this Woolworths recipe. I also try to fit a walk in on Christmas day (doggy, friends and family welcomed to join!)”

Chris shares, “I put out a tray with glasses and a jug of water. It is important to have water for guests within easy reach, especially if it is hot or if alcohol is being consumed. I cool the jug of water in the fridge first and to this I add sprigs of mint, sliced lemon, cucumber and ice blocks.”

Bec likes to implement the following for more sustainable gift giving: “I always try to use alternatives to traditional wrapping paper”, Going on to suggest:

  • Use recycled paper – the kids artworks are perfect for this or old newspapers
  • Use old jars, baskets and tins with a bit of recycled ribbon tied around them
  • Wrap gifts in a cute tea towel which can form part of the present
  • Santa presents – the kids have big Santa sacks which I put below the tree. Santa fills them up and I don’t wrap these individually.”

Bel’s two young boys love Christmas time, so over the holiday period they do lots of cooking, baking and creating. “We make Christmas themed treats like strawberry Santa hats, snowman face corn thins, colourful green and red fruit salads (with kiwi, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and melon), and one our family favourites is a broccoli salad topped with lots of delicious pomegranate seeds – always a hit on Christmas day.”

This year Kristen found her gift wrapping inspiration via Instagram account @plasticsfree. “My Christmas wrapping goal for 2020 is to find some lovely second hand scarves, give them a wash and then wrap gifts in them”.

Lastly, Maddy shares, “as a dessert to take along to events, I always offer to make a fruit platter. In summer we have some delicious fruits in season (think cherries, figs, grapes, melons, plums, mangoes and all the fresh berries). It always seems to be a hit, especially when the weather is hot – there’s nothing better than some fresh, chilled and juicy fruit! I also try to slow down, be present and take it all in, as it is a rare occasion to get all of our loved ones together in the same place and at the same time. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and it always seems to go so quickly. So I try to make the most of the special family time as much as possible, before we are all back in to the busy-ness of another year!”

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year from the Health Promotion Team!

This blog was written by the Health Promotion Team at Peninsula Health.

If you are interested in creating healthy environments, would like to partner with us, or have a question, please contact us at: healthpromotion@phcn.vic.gov.au. Follow us on Instagram @a_healthy_peninsula.