It’s the season to eat, drink and be merry and for many of us that can mean over-indulging in foods and beverages that we wouldn’t normally eat or drink on a regular basis (Eggnog anyone?!). So whilst it’s lovely to see friends, party and socialise throughout the Christmas period, how can you enjoy the festivities and not be left with a deep sense of guilt and regret that you’ve totally gone askew with your nutrition and healthy eating to the point where it will take a lot of hard work to get back on track in the New Year.
Jeannette Jackson Celebrity Nutritionist Offers Her Top Three Tips to a Healthy Christmas
1. Maintain Your Exercise Routine
Ultimately Christmas is just 2 days in December and yet it has the ability to knock people off their routine for weeks! Staying mindful and really pushing yourself to get to the gym or yoga class is an absolute necessity if you are to maintain your health throughout Christmas. A great tip is to book in to some classes you’ve never tried before, as when you get your name on the list you are more likely to attend than not, plus, if you go with a friend you are equally more committed. If you’re not an exercise bunny then go walk, dance, cycle, skate….anything to get you moving! If you are putting more calories into your body than you normally would then you are going to either have to burn them off – or they will land. If they land, you will have to work doubly hard to work them off in the following weeks, months (…..even years for some people!). Prevention is the best solution, so keeping up some form of exercise is crucial if you don’t want to start January miserable and overweight.
2. Nutrition Know How
It takes an extra 3,500 calories to make 1lb of fat on your body (these are calories consumed but not burnt off) and often it’s the hidden calories in foods that make the difference. For example a mince pie with a medium latte can set you back up to 700 calories! So it doesn’t take long for 7lbs to creep on over the weeks and suddenly you’ve got half a stone to lose.
The solution is to pace yourself i.e. if you are going out for dinner at night then eat small healthy meals throughout the day. Fill up on steamed vegetables, juices and whole foods such as rice, beans, grains etc… so that you’re not picking at foods throughout the day. And watch your portion control. Restaurants seem to take pleasure in piling up the plates and you really don’t have to eat it all.
So keep you eye on your end game; you want to stay healthy, plus look and feel great throughout all the holidays and if you start to feel lethargic and sluggish then that’s a clear signal that your body is struggling to cope with the volume of food and drink you are piling in. Take your foot off the break and give your body a chance to recover by making fresh juices and smoothies to help the body to replenish and recover with natural healthy foods.
3. Alcohol Alert
If there’s one thing guaranteed to make you want to eat stodgy junk food, it’s a hangover!
A recent survey showed that the No.1 food that people said they crave when hungover is a fry up. And in my experience if you start the day eating unhealthy foods, you carry on for the whole day.
So, whilst it’s fantastic to party and let your hair down, stopping before you get drunk enough to get a hangover is a good party tip. Knowing your limits helps you to stay in control not only of the evening, but also the next morning too, as you will awake refreshed and raring to go (hopefully to the gym!).
Alcohol leeches vital minerals and vitamins from the body so you end up feeling listless and sluggish as your body lacks it’s requirements to manufacture energy for you. Plus there are many hidden calories in alcohol with a large red wine having approximately 180 calories.
So what’s the healthiest alcohol to drink? Well, red wine is very good as it contains Resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant to help counteract free radical damage (but can be high in calories!). However, one of the alcoholic drinks with the least calories is Vodka with slimline tonic but this has no health benefits apart from low calorific content (approximately 80 calories).
So in summary; if you keep up your routine and eat and drink sensibly throughout the Christmas period then you really can have your Christmas cake and eat it.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas