Your #FrayLife Guide to Having a Happy, Healthy Holiday in New Orleans


The holiday season may be touted as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but for a lot of us, it’s a mixed bag. With so many festivities, events, and activities in such a short amount of time, our routines can get completely upended.

While there is plenty of fun to be had during the holidays, there are also an unusually high amount of stressors. All of these celebrations, and emotions, can have a negative effect on our health. With our traditions revolving around heavy food and partying hard, it can be hard to reach the New Year without going off the rails.

So, if you want to confidently rock your spandex come Mardi Gras, read on for our #FrayLife tips to stay happy and healthy this holiday season.

Run, Rudolph, Run

Unlike the Winter Wonderland the rest of the country experiences, here in New Orleans November and December are some of the nicest weather months of the year. Lucky for us, that makes it a lot easier to keep up with our fitness routines, or even start new ones.

Apps like ClassPass and MindBody allow you to try classes at fitness boutiques all over the city, without the commitment of a gym membership.

#FrayLife Tip: Get your sweat on in the morning, then head to the evening Office Party guilt-free.

For extra endorphins, try one of the many outdoor classes offered throughout the city, or simply go for an al fresco stroll. Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue are known for their elaborate displays, so why not get in some steps while enjoying the view?

If you’re feeling extra motivated, sign up for a holiday-themed race like the Turkey Day Race or Jingle Bell Run. It’s been clinically proven that active people are happier people, so the more you Step into Christmas, the more spirit you’ll have!

Bring Us a Figgy Pudding?

Here in New Orleans, we take our food very seriously all year, and this season is no exception. You’ve probably got a calendar full of events, all of which involve eating, drinking, and being merry, most likely in that order. All this indulging can lead to unwanted weight-gain…which is never fun. By making some informed choices, you can enjoy yourself and avoid that pants-unbuttoned feeling we’re all familiar with.

Here are our suggestions for some local favorites:

Eat This: Oven Roasted Turkey

Photo Credit: Epicurious

Not That: Deep Fried Turducken

Turkey is a great choice, as it’s full of protein, while also being very lean. Oven roasting in the skin is the best method, as you need very little added fat to help the bird come out nice and tasty. On the other hand, deep-frying adds quite a bit of fat, and duck is much fattier than turkey.

Eat This: Grilled Oysters

Photo Credit: Serious Eats

Not That: Oyster Dressing

Sure, traditionally grilled oysters tend to be made with a good amount of butter, but they still beat oyster dressing, which is made with tons of butter and cornbread. Going the grilled route will save you on saturated fat and carbs compared to the dressing.  

Eat This: Seafood Gumbo

Photo Credit: My Recipe

Not That: Sausage Gumbo

There seem to be as many ways to make gumbo as there are cooks in New Orleans. While it’s not the lightest dish, choosing seafood over sausage will save you a lot of saturated fat. Go easy on the rice if you’re watching carbs, and add extra veggies to bulk it up. Just not tomatoes- as any good New Orleanian will tell you, no one puts tomatoes in gumbo!

Eat This: Pumpkin Pie

Photo Credit: Pillsbury Pumpkin

Not That: Pecan Pie

When it comes to desserts, fewer have more sugar and calories than the classic Southern pecan pie. Pecans are high in fat, and most recipes call for copious amounts of sugar and corn syrup. You’re better off choosing a pumpkin or classic fruit pie, which contain much less sugar and fat. You’ll also save some calories if you top your pie with whipped cream rather than ice cream.

Drink This: Sazerac

Not That: Eggnog

The quintessential New Orleans cocktail has Nog beat by a landslide! Eggnog packs in the saturated fat, as it’s made with whole milk and cream, plus it has plenty of added sugar. The Sazerac contains a fraction of the sugar, and none of the fat.

(Avoid A) Blue Christmas

Photo Credit: Goodnet.Org

Self-care is important all year round, but the holidays can be an especially hard time. It’s darker earlier and stress levels are up, so treat yourself extra nice this time of year.

Use seasonal sales as an excuse to indulge in a massage or other feel-good activity.

Try keeping a gratitude journal, or volunteering if you need to get your mindset in a better place.

Your mental health is just as important as diet and exercise, if not more so, so make sure to find holiday time for some Me Time.

What are you doing to stay healthy this season? Share with us in the comments and tag #FrayLife and #NOLAFray in all your feel-good posts!


View More Articles By Katie Baer




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