It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Healthy Christmas

As we wind down towards the end of the year, it is for many a time for holidays, celebrations, and gatherings of friends and families, and inevitably lots of eating and sometimes overconsumption of alcohol. It can also be a very stressful time of year, making it difficult to remain calm and healthy, and to avoid excessive weight gain. The festive season can leave many people feeling overwhelmed, weary, and sick.

So, what can you do to stay as healthy as possible?

So like the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 simple tips.

1. Make careful food choices even at parties. Try to avoid fatty foods, snack foods, and overprocessed sugary foods as much as possible. If available opt for good proteins, salads, vegetables, and fruit, both at home and at social gatherings for optimal nutrition. Supplemental vitamins and minerals especially B vitamins and magnesium may help if your diet is inadequate.

2. Watch the snacking. During the day eat protein rich snacks such as nuts, apple slices with nut butter and hummus and vegetable sticks, as these can help curb hunger pangs that result in unhealthy choices.

3. Eat before you go out to play! Eat something before you go out to a Christmas party to help avoid overeating. A meal or snack containing a protein and some good fat also slows the absorption of alcohol.

4. Avoid overindulgence. Eat only what you need to feel gently satisfied. Don’t overeat! Stop eating before you feel too full. Avoid second and third helpings just because it looks and smells good. Always try to sit down when eating and chew food slowly and well. And be aware of portion sizes. How much food is on your plate?

5. Understand your own body. Don’t eat food that you know just doesn’t sit well with you, however delicious it may look. And don’t eat too late at night, ideally your last meal should be about 3 hours before you go to bed.

6. Practice good meal planning. Careful weekly shopping plus good meal prep and planning will help you avoid random shopping, when you find lots of chips and lollies in your trolley.

7. Support your digestion. Try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before meals. This can balance pH of the stomach and aid digestion. Or a slice of lemon in warm water before breakfast.

8. Try to drink mindfully. Not only can excessive alcohol leave you with a hangover, but alcohol is also high in kilojoules, so can lead to weight gain. Try non-alcoholic options or light beer, dilute your wine and spirits with ice or mineral water, and eat before you start drinking. Watch your alcohol intake and drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. Be careful of mixed drinks – how much alcohol is in the mix?

9. Drink enough water. Not just for hydration but also waste elimination. Aim for 1.5 -3 litres a day which can include herbal teas such as dandelion for liver detoxification, and ginger with turmeric, lemon and honey for immunity and digestion.

10. Keep your body moving. Exercising, at the gym, beach, pool, or simply walks after dinner will all help with weight control and balancing mood. Exercise is key to bouncing back after eating, drinking, and celebrating.

11. Try to manage stress. Stress can wipe you out. All that cooking, cleaning, shopping, and overspending, looking after visitors, and socialising can leave us exhausted so try to stay calm and enjoy yourself. Meditating, gentle exercise, reading and relaxing doing activities you enjoy may help.

12. Finally think about a gentle detox in the new year. The best kind of “detox” is adopting a clean-eating approach that replaces processed, fatty, sugary foods with nutritious quality whole foods, and eating daily from all the food groups where possible. Include foods that assist clearing the overload such as green foods e.g., barley, wheat grass, spinach, spirulina- organic leafy greens and green vegetables. However, your naturopath or nutritionist can guide you through a “detox” protocol that may help.

By Pamela Nelson

Author: Pamela Nelson

Pamela is a dedicated, qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Herbalist at Health Space. She aims to help her clients achieve balance in all areas of their lives. Her areas of interest include chronic illness, allergies and food intolerances, digestive problems, stress and anxiety management, sleep issues, and regaining work/life balance via lifestyle changes.

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