Health Lifestyle

15 Ways To Have A Healthier Christmas

Healthier Christmas

December 5th, 2017   |   Updated on November 21st, 2018

Tis the time to indulge and splurge…to be healthy and happy. And why not? We are in the midst of Christmas season.

Does that mean you will go crazy? You don’t have to. Soon the New Year will set in. And guess what our New Years Day resolution is going to be? That’s right. “I will lose weight! several pounds may be!”

Sounds pretty crazy? Doesn’t it. Enjoy the Christmas and lose weight!

Well, why not have your cake and eat it too. However, gaining a few extra pounds will put you on a back foot. Yet you can have a festive Christmas. All you need is to navigate the season smartly.

You can have all, your friends, family, happiness, joy, food, and festivity and yet you can have a complete control over your weight and waistline. Follow our top 15 tips for a healthier Christmas.

1. Don’t sit down all day

We know every Christmas special under the sun will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to plonk yourself on the sofa all day! Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees, or play old-fashioned games.

2. Go easy on the booze

If you are firmly ensconced at home over the festive period, those alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas eve, Bucks Fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy… the list goes on! So, do try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones.

3. Keep colds at bay

Colds are rife at Christmas, partly because many of us travel around the country, exposing ourselves – and others – to different cold viruses. Minimise your risks by maintaining a healthy immune system (eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and not smoking will help), so you are more able to fight off any viruses.

4. Don’t stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is the last thing many of us feel with overspending, cooking, cleaning, endless ‘to do’ lists and visitors we could do without. Try to keep a sense of humor and proportion. Is it really the end of the world if the carrots are overcooked or if the mantelpiece is a bit dusty? Do you really care about Auntie Mary’s disapproval of the fact that you and your partner are living together and aren’t married? Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365 and it isn’t worth stressing over.

5. Eat fruit

Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period eating no more fruit than the satsuma in the Christmas stocking. It just doesn’t really feature on the Christmas menu. But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health. Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get your recommended daily portions of fruit and veg.

6. Do something for others

It’s hard to avoid the consumerism that has overtaken Christmas in the western world, but it doesn’t all have to be about giving or receiving gifts. Try to do something for others this festive season, whether it’s baking some extra mince pies for an elderly neighbor, inviting an acquaintance who doesn’t have family around them to your home or helping out with a local Christmas fete or carol service.

7. Think before you eat

Christmas is a time of plenty, and with nuts, chocolates, mince pies and cheese straws wherever you look, it would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you don’t eat any treats over the festive period! But rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you in your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are just eating it because it’s there.

8. Engage your brain

Instead of switching off in front of the TV, keep your mind active by playing games like Trivial Pursuit or Charades. This is also a great way of getting everyone together. If you aren’t a ‘game’ person, engage your mind by setting up any new gadgets, such as Playstations, iPads, mobile phones or laptops.

9. Be a careful cook

If your Christmas duties include cooking the dinner, you won’t be delighted to hear that according to the Food Standards Agency, December is one of the most common months for people to get food poisoning. To minimise the risks, don’t leave food out all day. Put out small amounts at a time, so that what is on the table has just been cooked or just come out of the fridge. Ideally, try to use any leftovers within 48 hours or freeze them. As for the turkey, always defrost it in the fridge, allowing 10 to 12 hours per kilo and do not wash the bird, as this can spread bacteria around, which will be destroyed by cooking anyway.

10. Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol

Celebrating with a drink or two at Christmas is a must for many people but drinking too much will put your health at risk (and possibly your social life!). A simple way to avoid overdrinking is to have a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you drink.

11. Eat first, then go out

If you’ve got a Christmas event to go to, eat a full meal beforehand, one that contains protein and carbohydrates. The carbs will give you energy and the protein will help keep you feeling full when you’re faced with all those high-calorie snacks.

12. Choose your nuts carefully

Chestnuts are low in fat, so nibble a few of these and leave the handfuls of salted peanuts. “Although nuts can be energy dense, they have a lot of healthy qualities,” says Marie Murphy. “For example Brazil nuts and walnuts provide potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. “But go for the unsalted varieties as the healthy choice – and avoid whole nuts for younger children as they can be a choking hazard.” Too many high-salt foods – salted and roasted nuts as well as gravy granules, bacon and cheese for example – can contribute to raised blood pressure, so it is advisable to eat these in small amounts.

13. Smoked salmon breakfast

A bowl of porridge may not quite hit the right note on Christmas morning. For something more special Marie Murphy suggests trying scrambled egg with smoked salmon and chives on wholegrain toast. Eggs are a good source of protein and large ones contain around 77 calories each.

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast will keep you full enough to avoid the temptation of too much mid-morning snacking.

14. Salsa the night away

There’s no buffet like a Christmas buffet. If you are into your dips but trying to stay healthy opt for the salsa over the sour cream and chive. Two tablespoons of salsa contain around 20 calories, while sour cream and chive equates to around 110, according to the British Nutrition Foundation.

15. Balanced and healthy breakfast

On Christmas day, make a balanced and healthy breakfast! Include some fresh fruit and healthy protein. Making a yummy breakfast Christmas morning can be healthy and fun, like whole grain pancakes shaped as a reindeer face. This can be a great way all around to enjoy and look forward to healthy foods!

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