However you celebrate the holidays this year, our Sports Nutrition Advisory Panel experts have some words of advice for maintaining your healthy lifestyle during the most festive time of the year.

MAINTAIN HEALTHY HYDRATION HABITS OVER THE HOLIDAY. “Maintaining your hydration schedule is one habit you don’t get a break from,” reminds sports dietitian Heather Mangieri. “Holidays or not, getting adequate fluids every day is important to feel and be your best. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and keep drinking!”
-Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD

REMEMBER TO GIFT YOURSELF. Sports nutrition advisory panelist Leslie Bonci reminds you that the  holidays are a time to gift yourself. “The gift of sleep; the gift of comfort; the gift of restore, replete, renew — make sure to schedule time to relax and enjoy rest breaks over the holidays,” says Leslie. When it comes to holiday eating, Leslie has another tip for you. “Take the time to sit, chew and savor your food,” she says.
-Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN

PLAN AHEAD. This holiday season, Dan Liburd suggests planning for more than just the day — he suggests preparing for the entire week! “Thinking ahead and portioning your holiday meal in advance of a special day/and or week can be a resourceful way to take full advantage of nutritious and sizeable meals. Don’t just plan what you’ll be eating on the holiday, but also what you’ll eat before, during and after the holiday. Meal prepping for the holiday week can help to improve dietary quality, increase food variety and also help individuals to adhere with good nutritional practices.”
-Dan Liburd, MS, CSCS, USAW

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Heidi reminds us that naughty or nice has nothing to do with your training and eating over the holiday. “Know yourself. If you are someone who becomes rigid around training and eating, press the reset button, relax a little and allow yourself to enjoy time with family and/or friends. If you are someone who lets it all go, overeats and skips all training, create a realistic plan to select enough foods that are nutritious, along with some that are pure pleasure. And, set some time to adhere to your strength coaches’ recommendations,” she says.
-Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FACSM

KEEP FESTIVE & FUN IN YOUR FOOD CHOICES. Sports nutrition advisory panelist Molly Morgan reminds you to enjoy holiday favorites and include plenty of festive and healthy dishes to keep your body fueled throughout the holiday season. “A go-to in our house is adding an easy to make holiday ‘wreath’ salad to parties and meals! Here’s a quick how to: On a round platter arrange baby spinach around the perimeter of the platter for the base of the ‘wreath’, then top with sliced cherry tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls. Serve with balsamic glaze!”
–Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD

ENJOY THE HOLIDAY ON THE HOLIDAY. The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration, so it’s ok to take a day off and enjoy. The key is to just keep it to one day. You don’t need to splurge at 3 different holiday parties during each holiday, pick one day to celebrate each event, and enjoy it. Stick to your eating plan on the other,” Matt suggests.
-Matt Darnell, PhD, RD, CSSD, SCCC

SAVOR ALL OF THE FLAVORS, BUT BE MINDFUL. “Enjoy a little bit of everything, but don’t overdo it,” reminds sports nutrition advisory panelist Felicia Stoler. Her signature dish? Spinach Balls! To make Felicia’s recipe, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a silicone pad or line with parchment. Combine 2 packages of frozen, chopped spinach (thawed & drained), 2 cups of stuffing, 1 large chopped onion, 4 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter and 3/4 cup grated parmesan in a bowl. Form into golf ball sized bites. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes (turn over half-way through the process). This recipe makes ~36 balls, but Felicia notes that they are so good, you might want to double the recipe. “These can be frozen and reheated for a quick snack,” she suggests.
-Felicia Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM

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As a last reminder from the entire Sports Nutrition Advisory Panel — rest, relax and enjoy the downtime with your friends, family and loved ones!

Happy Holidays!