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Start Your Day with Healthy Meal: Hearty acai bowl topped with fresh fruit. (Amanda Shapin)

5 tips to stay healthy through the holidays

With a holiday party every weekend, family gatherings and a New Years bash in sight, the last couple of weeks of December might seem like the perfect time to give up on balance and just eat that extra piece of pie. While it's totally acceptable to indulge more than normal--and you should--there are simple tips to help you stick to your healthy habits along the way.

Stick to your workout schedule:

With holiday craziness, you schedule might seem too packed to fit in a workout. With the right planning, you can almost always get that workout in, whether it’s a quick 20 minute HIIT routine done right in your living room, or 45 minutes in the spin room, just get it done. Plan for morning workouts, so no matter what plans pop up in the evening, you’re all set. If you’re likely to hit snooze, sign up for a class with a friend, you won’t want to waste your money on a skipped class and you won’t want to let your friend down. Many studios currently have holiday specials on class packages. And some studios like cycling studio Zengo offer your first ride free. Or buy a Zengo class pack and use code DCRefined at checkout for 20% off packages (does not include off-peak credits, one per person code expires 12/31).

Start Your Day with Healthy Meal:

Since you got up early to workout, you might as well follow that up with a nutritious breakfast. Help set the tone for your day with a hearty breakfast that may just convince you to skip out on some of the sweets floating around the office. Make your breakfast a mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.

Bring a healthy item to parties:

If you know you’re headed to a get together that will be full of decadence, make a healthy contribution. Remember, healthy doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious. Check out recipes from healthy food blogs, there are many that specialize in taking your favorite indulgent recipes, and give them a healthy spin while still keeping them super tasty. Chances are, you fellow diners will thank you for bringing a guilt-free contribution.

Indulge with intention:

When attending holiday parties, take inventory of all the treats before you dig in. Don’t waste your calories (or stomach space) on things you don’t truly love. Check out all the options and make a conscious decision of what you’re going to indulge in, instead of simply going wild and eating everything. If you’re partying with a significant other or have a buddy with you, split things so you can taste more without committing to full servings.

Sign up for a post-holidays race to keep you on track:

Check out local races and kick off your training schedule ASAP. Once your schedule is set, you’ll have extra motivation to stay on track. Even through the holiday season, you’ll be more likely to stick to your workouts and to healthy eating for the much-needed energy boost. You might even think twice about that second glass of champagne knowing you have to wake up early to tackle a long run. Sign up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC race on March 11, 2017 (marathon, half marathon and 5k options still open), with a few months to go, now’s the perfect time to get training.

And finally, cut yourself some slack. The holidays are a time for joy, being with friends and family and celebrating. Remember that it’s okay to stray a bit from your healthy habits. Feel good about any efforts you put towards staying healthy, especially during the most indulgent time of the year.

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