Yes, its November already, and with Halloween and Bonfire Night done and dusted, it is socially acceptable to start getting excited for Christmas… Right?
We all know that this time of year makes way for parties, work drinks, and family gatherings, none of which generally encourage many healthy practices. Not to say you can’t indulge in a few treats, relax, and enjoy spending time with your friends and family, BUT we can all make a few healthier choices this season. Here are our 5 top tips for beating the binge (and the bulge) this Christmas.
Avoiding those sugary cocktails is your first challenge. They lead to a spike in blood sugar levels that only makes your hangover the next morning worse. If you are going out for drinks, try swapping the margarita to a vodka soda with fresh lime. It’s sophisticated and no one will judge you for your decision! Tequila, if you’re on the shots, is the cleanest one around. Red wine also has far less sugar than cocktails or tonics, and also contains antioxidants!
2. Stay Active
If you go to the gym on a regular basis, do not stop now! If you don’t, try and get a little more exercise into your routine to make up for the extra calories you’re bound to consume. It doesn’t have to involve intense workouts or gym sessions, just go for a walk with the family for some bonding time, take the stairs, or fit in some gentle yoga.
3. Plan Ahead
Meal prepping is, and always will be, a saviour for many people trying to maintain healthy habits. It sounds impossible if you’ve got a dinner party to attend, or a drinks do with plenty of tasty nibbles on offer. However, if you chow down on a protein ball before heading out, you’ll be less likely to pick once you’re out. If you’re attending a dinner party, offer to bring something along – a salad or dessert is always graciously accepted and you can be in control of what you put in them.
4. Cook from Scratch
The second you start using things from a packet, it becomes less healthy. Mass-produced, packaged products need a longer shelf-life and that almost always means there is added sugar in them. Gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Yorkshire puds, cakes, biscuits, chocolates. You don’t have to avoid all of these things all of the time, but when planning your Christmas roast, or the sweet treats to take to a friends’ party, try to make as much as you can from scratch. Even if it is a rich chocolate cake filled with butter and sugar, it is almost certain to be a more natural product than you could buy ready-made. Plus, homemade goods always taste better! Stuffing may be the exception here… if anyone has a great recipe for homemade stuffing I’m all ears!
5. Indulge on Christmas Day
That’s right, eat whatever you want on Christmas day. Allowing yourself a limited time to really indulge means you make the most of it and means you’re less likely to fail in the build up. Having something to look forward to, even reward yourself with, makes it easier to maintain that motivation leading up to it. Also, restricting that total indulgence to one day means it won’t affect your weight or health in the long run at all. As long as its just the one day, you’ll have no side effects, except perhaps feeling a bit sick if you over-do it.