And, no, it doesn’t involve bringing salad to parties.
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Here at Cooking Light, being healthy means more than tracking numbers on a scale or how many minutes of cardio we’ve logged this week. It means taking care of our mental health, checking in with our bodies, and fueling ourselves the best way we can. Sometimes that means eating a quinoa bowl or going for a jog, other times it means taking a bath or enjoying a frosted cookie.

This holiday season, we want to encourage you to do small things for your own health and well being every day—and we’re taking our own advice, and taking steps to keep ourselves healthy and happy that don’t necessarily involve changing everything. Here’s how we’re planning to practice self-care over the holidays—we hope you’re inspired to take some steps of your own.

Pound the pavement

“I’m getting up early and going for a run. It helps maintain both my physical and mental health. I don’t have any big goals, just to get out there at least four times a week, and run for a few miles. On the days that I do it, I feel better for the whole rest of the day.”

-Christopher Michel, editor,

Take time to meal prep


“I'll be taking a day or two before the festivities to prep a lot of healthy freezable meals. That way when I'm tired of indulgent holiday dishes, I can just reach in my freezer and heat up a bowl of vegan chili or stir-fry some frozen marinated tofu.”

-Haley Sugg, assistant editor,

Embrace new traditions

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I’m getting married next year, so this is my last Christmas with just my mom and dad. I’m planning to spend as much time with them as possible, and we’re heading to the Caribbean for a fun vacation. Rather than obsessing over the calories in my piña colada, I’m giving myself permission to eat lots of delicious island food, unplug from my devices, soak up some sun, and, most importantly, connect with my family—sans guilt.

-Jaime Ritter, associate editor,

Squeeze in a few zen moments

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“I practice yoga every day—on days when it’s just too hectic to get to a studio, I roll out my mat at home for some gentle stretching. 15 minutes of yoga is better than zero minutes of yoga!”

-Rochelle Bilow, social media director, Cooking Light

Pace yourself

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“I know I'm going to be eating a lot of indulgent food over the next week, so I think it’s important to try and balance it out (in moderation). If dinner is going to consist of lots of holiday appetizers, drinks, and something heavy like steak and potatoes, I'm going to make sure I have a light breakfast and a salad for lunch.”

-Zee Krstic, editorial fellow, Cooking Light

Plan non-food activities

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“My family falls into a trap of centering all of our time together around food and meals. So we try to plan activities during the break, like going to a museum or the beach, or watching movies and playing board games, so we're not constantly overindulging.”

-Antara Sinha, associate social media editor, MyRecipes

Stick to your morning routine

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“I try to drink something warm every morning. It's usually some sort of tea sweetened with honey. Also, a dream of mine is to have visible abs, so I try to squeeze in a few minutes of ab exercises.”

-Briana Riddock, editorial fellow, MyRecipes

Work now, play later

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“Put in a little extra work in advance so you can indulge later on. I like getting my run out of the way in the morning before the holiday craziness begins. I might have to scale back my mileage a little, but at least I know that I put the effort in. When I can, I try to eat well balanced meals so I can indulge in a full plate of food (or several glasses of wine!) at holiday parties without any guilt.”

-Elizabeth Laseter, SEO writer, Cooking Light

Make time for yourself

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“I try to make sure I get some alone time when I'm home. 24/7 family time can get overwhelming, so I'll be sure to read a book or watch a TV show on my own just to stay leveled.”

-Arielle Weg, editorial fellow, Cooking Light Diet