As Christmas approaches it can become more difficult to maintain a healthy way of life – even for someone like me who’s whole life revolves around healthy eating and maintaining as healthy a lifestyle as possible. The temptations are endless and everywhere. From the glossy magazines to supermarket displays, office offerings, Christmas parties and family gatherings. So how do you maintain a balance, but still enjoy yourself and stay healthy at Christmas?
Here are some tips to help you navigate the festive season, enjoy yourself and the delights that are on offer, without having to feel guilty and dive into a massive ‘detox’ in January.
- Start with 80/20 - Stick with your normal healthy diet 80% of the time and enjoy yourself for the remaining 20%. Practice moderation and balance.
- Always eat breakfast – particularly if you’ve been out the night before.
- Plain organic yogurt with berries, cinnamon and flaxseed can help eliminate toxins, feeds your beneficial bacteria and helps balance your blood sugars, or whiz up with a smoothie for an on the run breakfast. A protein rich breakfast with eggs, avocado (for the good fats) on a slice of sourdough bread with watercress or rocket will help you get through the morning after much more effectively.
- Keep well hydrated through the day - If you aren’t keen on plain water add herbs or fruit to your water bottle to gently flavour the water.
- If you go out stick to one type of alcoholic drink – don’t mix! Have beer or wine or spirits, drink a long drink slowly. Alternate alcoholic drinks with a soft drink (preferably water) and try not to drink more than one alcoholic drink per hour.
- Eat before you go out drinking - This will help reduce the time it takes to absorb the alcohol and reduce blood sugar spikes. A small pot of yogurt with a banana, wholewheat toast with peanut butter and sliced apple or banana work well.
- Walk away from buffet table – take what you want and then find somewhere else to eat. If you stay by the table it’s more tempting to keep reloading your plate until you have seriously overeaten. Try to fill half of your plate with vegetable/salad choices and add protein based snacks such as chicken or fish.
- Eat slowly and mindfully - Be aware of what you are eating and don’t just reach out for food and snacks just because they are there. Do you really need/want the food? Think about it and then if you do decide to eat the snack then be aware of it – smell it, taste it, chew it well so your stomach knows you’ve had something to eat and can digest it properly.
- Don’t skip meals as a way of ‘saving calories’ - You still need to eat regularly to give you the energy you need to cope with all the parties!
- Keep exercising - It will help you eliminate toxins, keep your energy levels up and help beat the pre-Christmas bulge. You don’t have to go mad, even a walk once a day will help.
- If you have control of the buffet table plan healthier versions - Vegetable based snacks along with protein based snacks such as chicken or salmon.
- Take time out for yourself to relax, even if it’s a bath with magnesium flakes and your favourite essential oil.
- Sleep – it will help you cope with business of this time of year and all the stresses that go with it.
Above all enjoy the Christmas period, but remember to look after yourself.