Christmas comes once a year and it’s this time of the year we like to be merry, enjoy time with our family and of course eat lots of yummy foods. However, this year is looking slightly different and perhaps won’t be the same as we may have hoped for. Here I share some top tips for a smoother, happier and less anxious Christmas. Why not embrace the festive season and enjoy the present moment!
Habits, Routine & Exercise
Try and maintain your habits but you don’t need to be too strict on yourself. Its fine to indulge, enjoy the moment and see food as something to be enjoyed and eat food for energy and nourishment. Yes, you can eat any foods you want and try not to put too much pressure on yourself especially with restricting foods and weighing yourself can add extra stress and anxiety.
It’s fine if your routine breaks and you don’t exercise as much over the festive period, remember you can slowly ease yourself back into it and always listen to your body.
Keep busy in the kitchen, get your children involved in preparing the Christmas meal and keep them active with house chores, decorating the house and go for regular walks to unwind and relax. Doing some form of movement can improve our mood and I love a crisp country walk this time of the year.
Keep your body moving with gentle stretches, yoga and do exercises you enjoy. Make a shopping list and remember don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan. Prepping a few weeks ahead and get your family members and support bubble to help you in the kitchen, can ease the panic.
Making your Christmas meal from scratch and a bit of baking gets you in the festive spirit. However, don’t feel you have to prepare a banquet. Make use of the freezer with frozen vegetables and frozen roast potatoes which can save you time. We all know most of us tend to go for a roast which is a healthy cooking method and including lots of different vegetables can help us meet our 5 a day, why not try a nut roast!
Use oils such as rapeseed or olive oil (a good source of monounsaturated fat) to marinate your roast potatoes and vegetables. Steam or pan fry those Brussel sprouts and add some nuts to give it some texture. Make your own gravy using the juices from your roast meat, shop brought ones can be high in sugar and salt. Incorporate fresh/frozen fruit in a dessert, I love a fruit crumble especially when using fruits in season and did you know a 30g portion of dried fruit count towards one of your 5 a day. So why not make some filo mince pies using some dried fruit- a simpler version of your traditional mince pies.
Nibbles are of course fun to put together but why not opt for nourishing alternatives such as plain nuts with cinnamon or honey or paprika and roast them in the oven. Cheese and crackers, raw vegetable sticks with homemade dips such as hummus, guacamole, fresh tomato salsa and some fruit cocktail sticks. Why not have a Christmas tree cheese board with colourful snacks including fruits, nuts, crackers and some dark chocolate.
Staying hydrated is just as important. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day and if you are drinking alcohol try to top up with water.
Top up your own glass of wine so you can keep a track of how much you are drinking. Sip your drink, stay within the recommended limits, use small glasses and make your own cocktails using unsweetened fruit juice and sparkling water.
Why not make your own mulled wine with grape juice, add some orange, cinnamon and cloves to it, you don’t necessarily need to use alcohol. Herbal teas can also help if you are feeling full post meal-try mint tea!
Don’t feel guilty
This time of year is about being merry, sociable and it’s the festive season. It’s about getting the balance, don’t go excessive and don’t beat yourself up if you have over indulged. Continue having regular meals and snacks; don’t skip your breakfast just because you will be diving into a large Christmas meal, you will end up eating more. Don’t count calories and try not to demonize foods as being good and bad. Listen to your body, give it what it needs with nourishing food and have a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and dairy as well as small amounts of healthy fats.
Don’t let the weather stop you from going out for a walk and play some games that involves movement and fun and keep your body moving. If you sit on the couch all day and eat nonstop you will feel like not getting up and may feel even worse.
Let’s do what we can to spread some love and kindness, perhaps donate to local food banks and volunteering to charities such as The Trussell Trust.
Merry Christmas, let’s make the most of it and embrace this festive season!