Christmas can present a challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The Christmas displays in the supermarkets go up weeks in advance and there’s almost an expectation that the time to indulge is here. There are also many more social gatherings with the opportunity to eat more than usual – and often richer foods as well! Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and on track during the Christmas season.
1. Mindful Eating
Pay attention to what and how much you are eating. I like to get my clients to portion their food treats out on a plate rather than just leave a bag or tin open on the table in front of them. I also encourage them to try and eat at a table and without distractions. If you are watching TV or scrolling on your phone while eating, then it is easy to eat mindlessly and eat far more than you meant to. Savour each bite and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. If you are not enjoying the food or are full – then put the food or drink down.
2. Stay hydrated
Dry and drink plenty throughout the day, this includes water and herbal teas. If you are hydrated, then this can make you feel fuller and may help to reduce the likelihood of overeating.
3. Limit alcohol consumption
This might seem like a bah-humbug tip – but there are absolutely no health benefits to drinking alcohol. Alcohol can contribute to extra calories, but it also lowers your inhibitions, potentially leading to overeating. Then the next day with a hangover you are much more likely to overindulge in sweet and starchy foods as your blood sugars will be higher. Alcohol also disrupts your sleep, leaving you more tired the next day. If you do drink, then try and drink in moderation and consider alternating alcoholic beverages with water or a non-alcoholic option.
Remember balance and moderation are key to enjoying festive foods. It’s okay to enjoy some festive treats – but be mindful of your choices and try and stay active which will help you to maintain a healthier lifestyle during the holidays.
My favourite food at this time of year is the Brussels sprout! This small green cruciferous vegetable belongs to the Brassicaceae family which also includes broccoli, kale and cabbage. They are high in fibre which promotes good digestive health. They are also packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, manganese and potassium which are all important nutrients for skin health. If you don’t like cooked Brussels sprouts, then try them raw in this salad, which also includes pomegranate seeds and chestnuts – flavours I associate with the festive season.
Have a happy, healthy and joyous Christmas - Kat
Raw Kale and Sprout salad