Christmas is a happy time of year when people come together to relax and celebrate. It’s not uncommon to treat Christmas as a time to unwind, enjoy a drink and overindulge in great tasting, calorie-dense food. The temptation of sugary treats and fatty buffet foods can be too much for some, replacing healthy nutrient-rich foods and resulting in unwanted gains in body weight. It’s important to get the right balance of trying to stay healthy and enjoying the festive period.
Here are my top tips to follow to keep you healthy throughout the Christmas period…
Don’t neglect your training
Keeping active during the festive season is a simple and important factor that can help you maintain your weight. Instead of sitting in front of the TV every day, go for a walk or run with the family. If you like participating in races, sign yourself up for a seasonal 5K run/walk or some other fitness event that will keep you focused and motivated to stay active.
Start your day well
Eat breakfast like a King… Having a good breakfast is the best way to start your day and may also stop you from overeating at later meal times and picking in between. A higher protein breakfast is also much better for suppressing appetite later in the day than a high carbohydrate breakfast such as cereal or croissants.
Don’t turn up to a party hungry or skip meals
‘I’ll skip lunch as I’ll be having a big meal later’. Sound familiar? Starving yourself in preparation for a big meal later in the day is a bad idea – you’ll be famished and hungry people make bad food decisions. Eat a normal lunch and maybe even a protein based snack (smoothie, vegetable omelette, yoghurt and fruit) before you go, to reduce your sweet-tooth temptation and prevent you from eating everything there.
Stay hydrated & drink sensibly
When you’re in party mode it’s very easy to drink too much alcohol without any consideration for hydration…then you wake up with a sore head! Alcohol is high in calories with 7kcal per gram. A 125ml glass of champagne contains 90-100 kcal. Whilst this doesn’t sound too bad, a few of those and your willpower with food will disappear and you’ll over indulge.
Eat the good stuff first
Fill your plate with the sensible options first. Selection of lean meats, vegetables and salad, new potatoes and wholegrains, followed by low fat Greek yoghurt and fruit should be prioritised. THEN, if you’re wanting a sweet pudding, you can still enjoy a treat without feeling the need to have loads.
Probably the most important tip is to enjoy yourself over the festive season, as that is what Christmas is all about!
Yes you can have a drink.
Yes you can eat unhealthy food.
The important thing is to be sensible and know your limits so you don’t get carried away. Train regularly, don’t skip meals, eat a variety of colourful and nutritious food, keep hydrated, and you can enjoy your mince pies without feeling like you’ll turn into one!