With the hustle and bustle of the holidays right around the corner, many of us temporarily neglect our health. Follow these simple tips to feel great and stay healthy over the holidays.

Eat in Moderation

Many of us are tempted to eat unhealthy foods when having meals with family and friends. Before agreeing to an extra piece of a tasty dessert, set limits to how much you will eat before you sit at the table.

Harini Kanani, MD, a primary care physician with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group says, “It’s OK to be flexible and indulge in pleasurable foods without guilt on occasions. Moderation means eating normally and choosing foods that are nutritious most of the time.”

When fixing your plate, Dr. Kanani says to include a variety of food choices and incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet, which are easier to burn off during exercise and help you feel full faster.

Choose Homemade Foods

Over 70 percent of the salt we consume comes from processed foods. Choosing these quick food options can easily lead to salt imbalances, which is a leading cause of high blood pressure and other conditions negatively affecting long-term heart health.

When deciding whether or not to pick up a premade holiday dessert or entrée, opt to make it from scratch to avoid the excess salt. Also, opt for turkey or other lean proteins instead of salted meats such as cold cuts.

“Flavors can be added with herbs, such as garlic and ginger, instead of salt,” said Dr. Kanani.

Try Indoor Exercise

Colder temperatures and early darkness can deter people from staying active. Engaging in aerobic exercise for only 30 minutes a day not only helps you burn off holiday pounds but can improve the quality of your sleep and help you live longer.

“Exercise as simple as taking the stairs helps,” says Dr. Kanani. “Running in place is also a good option to stay in shape during the colder months.” Other ideas for easy indoor exercise are lunges, jumping jacks. YouTube several suggestions for online workouts.

Frequent Hand Washing

Hand washing is one of the most basic and important steps we can take to avoid catching illnesses and infecting others. It is especially important to wash your hands any time you interact with several people or if you are responsible for preparing the holiday meal. If you think you might be feeling ill, stay home and away from others.

Get Plenty of Rest

Inclement weather, time off and taking on holiday projects can easily change your regular sleep schedule.  Lack of sleep can have wide-ranging effects on your health, increasing your risk for obesity and high blood pressure. It also makes it more difficult to focus and for your body to fight off illness.

When planning your activities, take on just enough tasks to keep you in the holiday spirit without overloading yourself. Dr. Kanani also mentions that most healthy adults need a consistent sleep schedule where they can get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

“Even on weekends and holidays, go to bed and get up at the same time every day,” she says. If holiday parties and activities have you off your schedule, remember these tips to increase the quality of your sleep such as,  turn off all electronic devices or keep them in another room and avoid consuming large meals, caffeine and alcohol.” Ensuring enough sleep and rest will help reduce some of the stress the holidays can bring on.

Dr. Kanani says the most important tip for the holidays is to be mindful of your eating habits and stick to a consistent exercise routine.

Prepare for the New Year by scheduling your annual wellness exam with your primary care physician. If you need a doctor, Adventist Medical Group can help.