At this time of the year it is much more difficult than at other times to stick to healthy eating, exercising or sleeping well! With parties, festivities, and traditions mostly centred on an abundance of delicious treats, snacks, and meals, it’s difficult not to overindulge! Although we can’t always stay away from all the temptations, we can try and include some healthy options over the next few weeks.
Here are our 10 top tips to help you through the festive season:
1. When you are going to be out and about Christmas shopping, running errands, or attending umpteen parties, plan ahead and never leave the house without a healthy snack. Things such as homemade energy balls or bars, nuts and seeds, fruit and cheese, or veggies and hummus can make for great, and filling, snacks.
2. Ensure you still include some time to exercise including walks with the family out in the parks or woods (not just traipsing around shopping malls!). Resistance training will gobble energy so why not do some squats or lunges or push-ups?
3. It is not necessary to completely abstain from all sweets and festive foods during this time, but try and aim to load up your plate with the healthy, nutritious options first. This will dull your hunger and appetite so you are less likely to overeat the bad stuff! This is also a good time to practice portion control, especially when it comes to the desserts and high-sugar drinks.
4. Drink plenty of water. Make sure, as you go throughout your day during this festive season, you are sufficiently hydrated. Even slight dehydration can trick us into thinking we’re hungry, and therefore, we are more likely to overeat and give in to the temptations.
5. Sleep – are you getting enough sleep? We all need a certain amount of sleep every night to stay healthy, so try to get to bed early some nights if you need to catch up.
6. Instead of dessert, or at least instead of a full serving of dessert, have a cup of herbal tea prior to eating the sweets. The tea will help make you feel full and less likely to devour the treats, while also providing some antioxidants!
7. Don’t keep tempting things around the house and resist the temptations in the office. Take a bite or two, but share the rest so it is not tempting you all the time. You could re-gift it to the local food banks.
8. Eat small portions slowly. Try to eat small portions and eat slowly, incorporating conversation in the mix. Also, sit down for a while and mingle with all if possible.
9. On Christmas day, have a balanced and healthy breakfast including some fruit and protein. Making a yummy breakfast Christmas morning can be healthy and fun, like whole grain pancakes shaped as a reindeer or a Santa face with fruit as toppings. Or what about a kiwi and pomegranate Christmas tree?
10. Relax – ensure you take time to relax. It’s an important part of staying healthy and fit during this busy period, not only because it’s good for your mind and your stress levels, but also because relaxing and resting will mean that you have enough energy. What do you do to relax? A long walk? a hot bath? A quick, short run? Read a book?
Don’t feel guilty when saying no, your health is your priority!