Christmas is coming. Hooray! And with it often comes too much food and drink leaving many of us feeling stuffed, sluggish and soooooooooo not looking forward to dieting in January. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many traditional Christmas foods like turkey and salmon, seasonal roast vegetables, cherries and cranberries are superfoods, so the big Christmas meal need not be a disaster for your health. Perhaps more challenging are the drinks and snacks – the mulled wine (and the other wines, and the beers, and the hot chocolates), the cheese platters, chocolates and candy canes on Christmas day itself and at the many events you might feel obligated to attend in the lead up to Christmas. Add in a few days away from your normal exercise regime and no wonder we all feel a bit blergh at the end of it all. We have a few ideas we think might help.
First things first – let’s talk about the food. You don’t have to deprive yourself of treats to stay healthy, especially not at Christmas time. But if you graze on chocolate selections and fancy cheese all day with a bottomless glass of something alcoholic you won’t even really enjoy it. You’ll be too full to enjoy the superfood main meal and you’ll feel terrible the next day. Make it easy for yourself by putting healthy options right in front of you and your guests. For example, have unroasted almonds and macadamias in front of the roasted and candied nuts. Place crudites and healthy dips next to the cheese platter and fruit wedges next to the sweets. Of course, if you’re baking yourself, you can always substitute sugar for monk-fruit (or another natural sweetener) so the desserts and treats are healthier from the outset. Graze on the healthy stuff, and truly treat yourself by consciously delighting in just a few mouthfuls of the less nutritious foods. The same goes for the drinks. Have bottles of sparkling or fruit-infused water next to the alcoholic and sugary drinks, making staying hydrated and taking breaks between alcoholic drinks effortless.
Fun & Festive Ways to Move
Plan other activities other than eating and drinking. Traditional parlour games like Charades or Twenty Questions give a fun focus to the day beyond food. And who says you can’t get any exercise done during the day? A game of Musical Statues, Twister or a yoga session with the Elf on the Shelf will have everyone laughing, bonding, and burning through a few of the excess calories! Perhaps a relaxing walk through a local park, a round of backyard cricket, or a family dance routine choreographed by the children could become a family Christmas day tradition?
Most crucial of all though is sleep. Can you carve out time in the rush before Christmas for sleep? Not only will you feel happier, but you’ll be less likely to reach for sugary treats to keep pushing through your exhaustion. What’s one thing you could delegate, outsource, postpone, or just decide not to do so that you all can get an early night or two? After all, Santa can’t come until you’re all asleep.
We wish you a very happy and healthy Christmas. What are your ideas to make the day more nourishing for your health and for your happiness? We look forward to hearing them the next time you visit us in the clinic.