Staying healthy at Christmas is tricky what with the endless amounts of tempting food, the juggling of children's activities and the entertaining. Yet exercising and eating well during the festive time isn't as challenging as you think! With my easy ways to make Christmas healthy for you and your family, you'll overcome indulgence, avoid piling on the pounds and feel great.
Here's how to have a healthy Christmas so that come January your body won't be totally wiped out!
For Mum + Mom, Dad. Start each day well in the lead up with a super delicious healthy breakfast, especially if you are going out that night. A bowl of porridge topped with mixed nuts and seeds, berries and a dollop of natural probiotic yogurt will help boost your immune system to cope with late nights. The essential good fats and fibre from the nuts and seeds will keep your blood sugar levels stable and cravings at bay.
For kids - fill them up with porridge and berries too, that way they are less likely to want sugary snacks mid-morning.
2. Pre Party Snacks
For Mum + Mom, Dad - Too many canapés are difficult to resist if you arrive to your party hungry! Snack on a banana and natural yogurt, some olives, a slice of whole grain granary toast with nut butter or sliced apple with nut butter or some soup before you head off to the party.
For Kids - try cocktail sticks of cheese cubes with grapes or a variety of olives. Sliced banana in natural yogurt will also give them a natural boost of energy.
3. Veg Out
Go for plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables which will power you up with antioxidants and nutrients to help boost your immune system after the partying has finished! My favourite Christmas vegetables are green beans with garlic, roasted Brussel sprouts, with sage, kale pan-fried with onion, garlic, white wine and vegetable stock, roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips and roasted baby carrots drizzled with balsamic, parsley and sprinkled with sea salt.
4. The Turkey
Along with eating plenty of the delicious vegetables, the Turkey is a really healthy meat to eat! It is an excellent source of essential amino acids for improving muscle tone and sustaining the appetite. Choose a mix of the dark and white meat as each has it's own vitamins and nutrients although the white meat is leaner. Not only that it contains the nutrient Selenium. Selenium contributes to a healthier immune system to fight illnesses and helps improve the functioning of our brain.
5. Water Up
This is one of my simplest tips that's easy to do! Be sure to consistently drink water throughout the day, aiming for at least 10 glasses. Alternating lots of glasses of water with alcoholic drinks means you'll stay rehydrated to reduce the dehydrating effects of alcohol and caffeine.
6. Alcohol Tips
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach! Having some food before drinking helps slow the rate alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream. Eating can also slow down your drinking but be careful and avoid munching on salty party snack foods as these will make you want to drink more quickly. Mix spirits with slimline tonic or fresh orange juice and sparkling water. Red wine contains about 85 calories per glass compared with 110 calories for sweet white wine or cider. A less calorific cocktail would be a vodka or gin pub measure, mixed with some pomegranate juice, sparkling water and slices of fruit. At least that way your body will take in some vitamin C. Alternatively, try tomato juice with vodka or white wine mixed with sparkling water, to dilute the alcohol and make your drink last longer. Mulled wine is a better option for Christmas day, again add lots of fruit slices and avoid adding extra sugar.
Tip: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, try my 5 delicious mocktails.
Winter can trigger cravings for comforting, sweet carbs because of the lack of sunlight which means our levels of the serotonin hormone in the brain is less abundant and this leaves us feeling tired and hungry. Avoid fatty sugary carbs as it will backfire with your energy, just raising your blood sugar levels too quickly so you crash down later. Instead elevate good moods by eating low-fat, healthy carbs, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal or porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey and berries and eggs with wholegrain toast. Eat a balanced plate of protein and fruit and vegetables or vegetable stews with beans and pulses.
Bonus Tip: Move Your Body
The best cure for a hangover is some fresh, crisp winter air and some quick steps. A power walk for 30 minutes mid-morning will clear the head, ready for your festive lunch.
It’s good for the whole family to get outside, even if you want to curl up on the sofa for hours watching films and cartoons..
By adding some creativity you'll be able to entice the whole family to get outdoors.
Firstly plan to get outside in the morning when everyone has more energy and is more likely to feel motivated. With children you can encourage them by suggesting fun activities.
If it’s snowing try having a snowman building contest, which can burn 285 calories per hour - take items with you from home to add to the snowman. With older children you could try ice skating, there are many ice rinks which are both indoors and outdoors and this can burn 450 calories per hour and be really good fun! For the older generation suggest a festive walk of just 30 minutes so it doesn’t seem too long with the promise of hot drinks on the way back!
Finally, enjoy your Christmas with family, revel in the fun, stay calm, breath and remember moderation not deprivation!