How to healthily indulge this festive season
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I thought it would be useful to share some tips on how you can still enjoy all the wonderful things that Christmas has to offer, but not completely fall off the bandwagon!
Eat mindfully - Be fully present when eating and savour the taste. If we are distracted when eating (for example when watching television) it can cause us to mindlessly throw food into our mouths, and before we know it, we’ve eaten a whole packet of biscuits! Take a moment to check-in with yourself - are you eating it because you really want it or just because it is there? You can still enjoy your favourite things, be it mince pies, chocolates or (a personal weakness) Turkish delight, but make sure you really want it and savour every mouthful.
Stock up on fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget about your daily portions of veg and fruit. When having a meal aim for at least half of your plate to be made up of vegetables, and in a wide range of colours to maximise your nutrient intake. Have healthy snacks to hand - a bowl of clementines, vegetable crudities and dips, olives, nuts (preferably ones you have to crack yourself to slow down your consumption!) or dates if you want something sweet. Include protein with every meal and snack. This will help balance your blood sugar levels, prevent afternoon energy slumps and sugar cravings, and help you feel fuller for longer. Keep hydrated - Make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. Not only will this help to reduce hangovers, but it can also help you to eat less. Water is also crucial for digestion and elimination. Often when we are dehydrated we can confuse it with feeling hungry. So if you are feeling hungry try having a glass of water first to see if the feeling of hunger subsides. If you don’t fancy water, herbal teas also add to your daily intake and can have some additional benefits. Peppermint or ginger teas for example help with digestion. Camomile and passionflower are perfect at the end of the day to help you unwind and promote a good nights sleep. Liquorice or cinnamon are good if you fancy something sweet. Watch your alcohol intake - You are more likely to eat higher calorie foods after drinking alcohol and couple that with the fact it dehydrates you, which may lead to an increased appetite. I’m not saying don’t have a drink, I will definitely be partaking in some fizz, but make sure you are drinking enough water and try alternating with a soft drink. Or try some non-alcoholic cocktails - there are so many great brands now, including Seedlip, Bax Botanics, Mother root and Aecorn. Angostura Bitters with soda or tonic and a squeeze of lime is also a refreshing drink and a bit more exciting than plain water! Keep active - It can be tempting to sit on the sofa all day and watch back to back Christmas classics but, instead, encourage the family to get active at some point in the day. Whether it is a long walk (or even 15 minutes is better than nothing), some competitive party games or a good boogie to some festive tunes. Or, if feeling particularly energetic, try a few squats while waiting for the kettle to boil!
Enjoy some downtime - rest, nap, slow down. We’ve had quite the year, stress levels have been high and it is important to allow our bodies to rest and reset. And most of all HAVE FUN! If you overindulge it's not the end of the world, give yourself a break and make up for it after Christmas.