10-minute hacks to keep you balanced over the holidays

Surprising tricks that tone down seasonal indulgences

10-minute hacks to keep you balanced over the holidays

Who has the time to work out or the willpower to resist extra calories over the holidays? With surprising tools like ice cube trays and your favourite song—and in just 10 minutes—you can stay balanced.

Revisit your ice cube tray

Yes, you’ll need some regular old ice cubes for entertaining. But you can also use ice cube trays to curb overindulging.

  • Rather than drinking the dregs of that bottle of wine at the end of a party, pour it into an ice cube tray to use while cooking
  • Bake as many holiday cookies as you need for gifts and special events, and then freeze extra cookie dough in an ice cube tray. When you want a treat, use a dough cube to bake a little cookie just for you (rather than mindlessly eating five cookies just because they’re lying around). This works for freezing individual portions of mousse and puddings, too (as long as there’s no whipped egg whites in them).

Be hands-on at parties

Keep your hands busy at holiday parties: take photos, wash dishes, pour drinks. This will keep you from refilling your plate just so your hands have something to do. Bring a healthy dish to every party to ensure there’s something nourishing for you to eat.

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Get stemware savvy

Nip into a home store and invest in slender stemware for the holiday season. It’s much easier to over-pour calorie-laden alcoholic beverages when using big, squat wine glasses or tumblers. Champagne flutes help you control your portions—plus, they’re classy. 

Break up your workout

As your evenings fill up with holiday parties, it will be virtually impossible to stick to your full after-work or evening workout.

  • Get up 10 to 15 minutes earlier to squeeze in some exercise in the morning.
  • Take 10 minutes at lunch for another micro-workout.
  • Do 10 minutes of cardio as you’re getting ready to go out (this could include dancing to your favourite jam).

There. You’ve fit in your workout and you’re pumped up for the party.

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De-clutter while you decorate

Decorating can be one of the most relaxing parts of the holiday, but not if the end result leaves you drowning in knick-knacks—more “reindeer-obsessed hoarder” than “tasteful nod to the season.” Only use the decorations that give you joy. Donate the rest. And if every surface is already covered, make a rule: for every decoration you set up, one other object has to be recycled or donated. When the decorations come down, you’ll have a tidier, more relaxing home to enjoy in the new year.

Bin it as you bake

Holiday baking offers a similar opportunity. If you find yourself rummaging through cupboard clutter, quickly recycle or dispose of these items:

  • containers without a matching lid, and lids without containers
  • excess silverware people have accidentally brought home
  • the ghosts of parties past (e.g. the two paper napkins left over from that children’s theme party)

Pick a food partner

Even better than a secret Santa is someone to help you eat well over the holidays. Take five minutes in the morning to make a plan for how you’re going to eat healthy that day, including how you’ll navigate any parties. Let your food partner know. Then take five minutes in the evening to follow up on how your plan worked.

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