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Holistic Health Coach - Nutrition Consultant -
Dance Cardio Instructor - Recipe Developer

Healthy Holiday Season Hacks for Optimal Health



Hi babes!


The holidays are here, and it’s getting a little crazy - scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, making time for family, shopping for presents, attending holiday parties, dinners with in-laws, late nights, drink dates, AND trying to fit in self-care. Boy, it can be difficult. My head has been spinning trying to “fit it all in” these last few weeks, and we still have a few more to go. 


Whenever I feel this way, I go back to these fundamentals that I know will have me feeling my best. Here are my top tips for navigating this busy time and coming out the other end alive, healthy, and thriving:



Focusing on your health during this time of year (and always) is an act of self-love. Love to take care of yourself. Love to prioritize your own health. Love to connect with the beautiful body given to you. Love to feel your best so you can give your best to others. It’s not an act of punishment. It’s not this “annoying” thing that you “have” to do. In fact it is quite the opposite. Whenever you feel like giving up, come back to love.


Even though this time of year can seem nutty, it is also packed with so much magic, community, celebration and love! Embrace it. There is much to be thankful for during this time of year. Overflowing calendars...celebrating with those you love! It may throw you out of your routine, but you can get back to that routine for the other 11 months of the year. You’ll be ok. I promise.


This may be number one. Sit back, take a few deep belly breaths, and reflect when you’re feeling overwhelmed or off-track. What are you really feeling? Be your own detective. Deep breathing helps pacify the nervous system, which is extra important during this time.


The formula to keep blood sugar levels stable and cravings at bay - healthy fats + protein + fiber. This combination turns off multiple hunger hormones in the body, so make sure to include them in every meal! You will be less inclined to reach for the cookies your co-worker brought into the office.


Get moving first thing in the morning, for 15-30 minutes. This sets your day, prioritizes your health first and foremost, revs up your metabolism for the day, energizes you, and gets you glowing! As soon as you start eating, insulin is produced, which inhibits the breakdown of fatty acids, leading your body to burn the sugars you've just ingested, as opposed to stored fat. Exercise first thing in the morning helps burn this stored fat. Keep it light to avoid stressing your adrenals - walks, yoga, a few short and sweet body weight exercises.


If you can’t get it in first thing in the morning, still make sure to get it in! Get the blood pumping and oxygen flowing. Clear out the clutter that has collected in your mind. Sweat out the toxins. Do a form of exercise that you enjoy! And throw in a yoga session or two to help keep you grounded during this chaotic time.


Intermittent fasting has some amazing research behind its impact on longevity and metabolism. In a time of year when we’re all prone to overdoing it, giving your digestion a break can be a way of resetting. There is no one way to do this, but a simple option is to take one day per week where you go at least 16 hours between dinner the night before and your first meal the next day. 16 hours may be too much for you, and that is ok! Don’t push it. Aim for 12, which is totally sustainable to do every day, and increase up to 16 if it feels right in your body. When you do start eating again, make the rest of your intake that day focused on greens, protein and healthy fats.


Combine warm water with the juice of ½ lemon or 1 Tbs of organic raw apple cider vinegar or both. This helps cleanse the system of toxins, while encouraging healthy digestion.


Making the first meal of the day a Morning Power Smoothie sets you up for a good day. It’s loaded with fiber, greens, healthy fats and protein to squelch hunger hormones, hydrate your body, and energize you for the multiple events you are attending. Smoothies are also easier on the digestive system because they are blended. A nice ease for your overworked digestive system.


Taking a pause to reset is critical during this time. Although indulging is fun and totally necessary, it shouldn’t last for 2 months. Following this between holidays regularly brings you back to your desired baseline. My 4-Day Reset (available on the homepage of my website!) is just 4 days free of sugar, processed foods, dairy, gluten, corn, soy and alcohol, while being packed with all of the good stuff you want - all the greens. It’s short, simple, and effective. You can totally extend it if you feel up to it.


When you live it up, do it the smart way.


Choose tequila, vodka, or mezcal with a twist, on the rocks or with water/soda water and lemon or lime – and skip beer and wine. Beer and wine have a lot of sugar, potentially gluten, yeast, and feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Avoid the drink mixes, as they are loaded with sugar and even colors and dyes. Always avoid the added sugars and syrups too. For every cocktail, have a glass of water!


Bring your own. You can always make a holiday favorite healthier. If you don’t have time to make your own, then look for short ingredient lists. If we’re talking about a chocolate bar, aim for over seventy-five percent cacao, organic or non-gmo ingredients, no soy lecithin, and sugar as one of the last ingredients. I love these brands: Eating Evolved, Pascha, Theo and Green & Blacks. For other goodies, try to keep them gluten and dairy free, which is a lot easier nowadays. If you go all in, let yourself go all in! Don’t feel guilt or shame about it. Take a few, mindful bites a move on. Your body can handle it.


When eating out, shoot for veggies + clean proteins + healthy fats. Always stock up on the veggies. It can also be really helpful to eat a small snack before you meet friends for dinner or show up to the holiday party. This prevents you from showing up starving and not making mindful decisions. Good choices are: a hard boiled egg (healthy fats + protein), a handful of nuts (healthy fats + protein), a scoop of protein powder with nut milk (healthy fats + protein) or a small salad.


At the end of the day, we all do the best we can with what we have. Guilt, shame, and stress are arguably worse for our health than a bit of processed food here and there, so let’s ditch them. If you need extra help, reach out to me! Schedule an initial consultation and we’ll have you feeling your best in no time.


With so much love, 



My Morning Power Smoothie for Optimal Energy + Hormone Balance + Healthy Weight



I make some sort of variation of these morning smoothie almost every morning. It is easy, quick, nutrient-dense, fiber-filler, protein-packed and loaded with good quality energy to keep me full and fueled until lunch. It is also delicious. Key ingredients here are:

     -  fiber - protein - healthy fat - greens - anti-inflammatories - hydrating base -


Protein, Fat, Fiber + Greens ---

  • turn off over 8 hunger hormones, squelch inflammation, and provide the body with the perfect complete meal of essential nutrients
  • protein ups collagen, muscle tone, and metabolism
  • fat benefits hormones, skin, and cellular health
  • fiber promotes a healthy microbiome
  • greens (or veggies deep in color) provide cancer and inflammation fighting phytonutrients

This combination keeps you from crashing before lunch and sabotaging your healthy eating efforts. When you arrive at your next meal "alive" you can easily make conscious decisions to eat properly during your next meal.


*Quick note on fructose (the sugar found in fruit):

Fructose turns to fat faster than any other form of carbohydrate. When metabolized, fructose converts to an activated form of glycerol that is directly used to turn free fatty acids into triglycerides, or fat. Basically, the more fructose you consume, the more glycerol it converts into and the more fat you store.


Here is my recipe for my Morning Power Smoothie! 



Serves 1

  • 10 ounces of water + 2 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
  • two large handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 cup organic mixed berries
  • one serving of high quality, plant-based protein - I typically do a chocolate flavor
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 inch of turmeric
  • handful of mint
  • dash of black pepper
  • dash of cinnamon
  • large handful of ice


Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. I top it with cacao nibs because I love a good crunch. Enjoy!


Feel free to experiment and build your own with this formula!


PROTEIN: 1 serving or 20 g of protein organic pea, bone broth or collagen

*My favorite brands are Vega, Sunwarrior, Orgain, Tone it Up, and Garden of Life.

FAT: 1 tbsp. minimum per serving almond butter, coconut oil, avocado, walnuts, MCT oil, sunflower butter, coconut butter, cashew butter

FIBER: 1-2 tbsp - chia seeds, flax seeds, acacia  

GREENS: large handful kale, spinach, romaine watercress, cucumber, parsley, cilantro, etc

OPTIONAL FRUIT: ¼ cup maximum per serving blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai

LIQUID: unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, hazelnut milk, water

*Avoid protein powders that contain too many ingredients—simple is best. Always aim for 20g of protein per serving.


Try it out and let me know what you think! Tag @hannahaylwardhhc in all of your creations!