Ever wondered how health experts navigate the holiday season? I’m a big advocate for balance & enjoying your favourite goodies with loved ones – not depriving yourself! So this year, I thought I would share my practical tips for enjoying Christmas and New Year in a healthy way.
How a naturopath approaches the festive season
HYDRATION IS A TOP PRIORITY
Getting plenty of water is a must in any situation. But over the holidays, it’s even more essential – we’re eating saltier foods, drinking alcohol, getting less sleep and generally putting more stress on the body.
That’s why I make sure I’m drinking plenty of freshly filtered water every single day. It helps to keep my energy high, gives me a healthy glow, and counteracts many of the side effects of indulging frequently!
CHOOSE TREATS WISELY & MINDFULLY
Now first up, let me say: everyone should enjoy their favourite foods over Christmas and New Year! But for me, the goal is to be choosy and go for the absolute must-haves.
For example, I prefer savoury over sweet most of the time, and prefer to have a small amount of something utterly luxurious rather than a massive serving. So you won’t find me eating a huge slice of fruit cake!
Choose your top 2-3 favourite goodies, and whenever possible, choose the best quality in a small quantity. As an example, enjoy 3-5 pieces of decadent handmade chocolate rather than wolfing down an entire block of Cadbury’s!
PORTION CONTROL IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
The same theory goes for the meals you eat while out and about – not just treat foods. I avoid refilling my plate and going back for extra servings because I simply don’t need them!
Another way to make portion control easy? Fill your plate with 50% veggies whenever you can. This will help to satiate you, add in a big dose of fibre and micronutrients, and prevents you from going overboard on the more calorie-dense foods.
FOCUS ON EATING WELL MOST OF THE TIME
So many people focus on restricting what they eat at parties and events. But they completely overlook what they eat between those events – aka the bulk of your nutrition!
Rather than getting too worried about what I’m going to eat on Christmas Day or the treats at a New Year’s party, I focus on packing nutrition into my meals at home.
This can include adding in a nutrient-dense meal or snack before heading out for the evening. One easy option I often reach for is a green smoothie. Having a smoothie allows me to get micronutrients, protein, fibre and hydration into my system. And of course, it’s much easier to make mindful choices when I’m out because I’m not hangry!
KEEP ALCOHOL TO A MINIMUM
Now I’m not opposed to alcohol – but I prefer to avoid consuming drinking too much over the festive season.
Why? There are a few reasons:
Alcohol can rapidly dehydrate you and make you feel crummy
Too much alcohol contributes to premature ageing of the skin and the body
It contains a dense amount of calories and has minimal micronutrients to justify those calories
One or two glasses at an event isn’t a big deal, as long as you’re mindful to drink water in between. But if you’re consuming more than that, it might be time to explore why you feel the need to.
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