Christmas is a time to let loose, have fun and fully embrace the perks of the festive season. Our usual healthy habits go straight out of the window and the fun-filled weeks of indulgence are often followed by strict New Year diets and military-style fitness regimes. However, you needn’t live in fear and begrudgingly decline every mince pie or chocolatey treat that comes your way. Instead, try these five simple tricks that will keep your health in check over the holidays, without ruining your fun (or your waistline).
Festive treats don’t have to be laden with salt, covered in chocolate or served with brandy and cream. Make the most of healthier seasonal foods by indulging in sweet fruits such as apples, cranberries and clementines, or loading up on vegetables like broccoli, sprouts, sweet potato and squash. Nuts make a great snacking alternative to crisps and keep you feeling fuller for longer, which will prevent you reaching for junk food later in the day.
As tempting as it may be to bury yourself on the sofa with the intention of staying there all day, you will most definitely feel better for getting some fresh air and stretching your legs. Even if your regular gym routine has gone to pot, a brisk walk around the block, run around with the kids, or a dance to some festive tunes. These will help raise your metabolism and keep those pesky pounds at bay.
It’s easy to forgo water in place of fizzy drinks, mulled wine and hot chocolate, but these will simply leave you feeling dehydrated and sluggish. Start your day with a cup of super-hydrating warm water and lemon which will help to alkalise your body, kick-start your metabolism and support your liver by diminishing the unpleasant effects of sugar and alcohol. Aim to drink at least 2L of water throughout the day to balance the consumption of all your other favourite festive tipples.
With all the festive parties, late-night soirees and long list of Christmas movies to get through, sleep can easily become the last thing on your list. However, lack of sleep can leave you feeling moody, drained and overwhelmed, and who wants to feel like that at the happiest time of year? Aim to stick to a regular bedtime and get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This combined with a good diet is sure to help you feel your optimal best and full of cheer throughout the festive holiday season.
It’s more than likely at some point you’re going to over-indulge - it’s Christmas right?! Just remember to enjoy everything in moderation. Your favourite foods will still be around after December so there’s no need to feast as though there’s about to be a famine. And eating chocolate for breakfast is only acceptable on December 25th – not every day of the month. Aside from that… eat, drink, be merry and have a very, very happy Christmas!