With the festive season fast approaching, we’re prone to indulge in more of the finer, and unfortunately more unhealthy things in life. Here’s our top 10 tips to try and be healthier over Christmas to avoid a sluggish January.
#1 – Make your own sauce
Christmas feasts are usually accompanied by sauces that are on the unhealthy side of the fence. They usually have additives and are high in sugar; in fact some mayonnaises have more sugar than coke! Make your own apple sauce by simmering peeled green apples in water, adding cinnamon and mashing up. Make your own gravy by adding some gluten free flour and the crusty bits off the bottom of the roasting tray with water in a pot. You can even make your own mayonnaise using healthier oils like rice bran oil or cold pressed grapeseed oil.
#2 – Lay off the soft drinks
Try to keep soft drinks off the shopping list, instead opting for mineral or soda water with some sliced fresh fruit in it. You could also make an iced tea by steeping green or black tea bags in cold water overnight, then adding some xylitol or honey to sweeten and some fresh fruit to flavor it.
#3 – Buy organic or free range meat
Buying organic meat is one way to avoid added hormones and antibiotics that can come as an added extra with your meat. Pork and chicken in particular are raised in factory farms with no access to move around and no natural light. Not only is this inhumane, it also means that the meat has a poor fatty acid profile and is not great for your health. If you can’t afford organic, then go free range and grass fed.
#4 – Use smaller plates and bowls
Most of us are bound to go back for a second helping at the Christmas table, but did you know that we eat with our eyes and not with our stomachs? Researchers have shown that we put way more food on a larger plate, but it doesn’t necessarily make us fuller. If you start with a smaller plate, even if you have seconds you’re likely to end up eating less, without feeling any less satisfied.
#5 – Have easy access to water
Seems simple, but often we forget to drink water as we’re celebrating. Have a dedicated water cooler sitting in prominent view with cups at the ready so you and your guests can easily stay hydrated.
#6 – Go gluten free
Keeping your meals gluten free will take the pressure off your digestive system, which is really under the pump at Christmas time. This is easily achieved by eating meats/fish/seafood and salads or veggies with your homemade sauces. Buy wholegrain rice crackers for dips and opt for a bread-free breakfast – buckwheat pancakes would be a great choice.
#7 – Make a sugar-free Christmas cake
If you’re handy in the kitchen you might want to consider making some desserts with sugar substitutes like xylitol. You can try this easy recipe for a delicious gluten-free Christmas cake. Learn how to use sugar substitutes here.
#8 – Move your body
Commit to exercising over the Christmas period to help your body deal with any excess calories that is thrown at it. Even committing to walk for 20 minutes each day will help to prevent sluggishness and keep your body moving.
#9 – Drink apple cider vinegar
Having a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in some water before meals will help to stimulate the release of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to help you break down your food. This is particularly useful on Christmas day when we can often be eating two very large meals.
#10 – Drink wisely
You may enjoy a tipple during the holidays, which can leave you feeling less than fresh come January. Opt for drinks like vodka, fresh lime and soda or red wine, rather than beer or mixed drinks. If you are having beer, make it preservative free and go for an organic or low preservative wine. Make the effort to drink one glass of water between each drink and your body will thank you!
So, are you ready to celebrate? Here’s to a fabulous festive season and fabulous health at the same time!