With Christmas just around the corner most of us are burning the candle at both ends. Here are our top tips to get you through the festive period in good health.
Whether you are working flat out in the office or on your own business at this busy time of year, preparing things at home for a lovely family holiday season and enjoying festive celebratory nights out with friends, family or colleagues, by the time Christmas Day actually arrives most of us are exhausted and in desperate need of a rest!
Kate, our lovely nutritional therapist, has put together her top 10 tips to help you stay healthy, happy and balanced whilst enjoying the festive fun and some well-deserved time off:
1) Keep well hydrated! We tend to overindulge at this time of year. Keeping hydrated with water, herbal teas, coconut water or hot water with lemon or ginger will help support your liver to get rid of toxins, maintain energy levels, reduce afternoon ‘slumps’, help to balance blood sugar levels, reduce headaches and keep your skin clear and blemish free. Try adding berries and cucumber to a jug of water and sip throughout the day.
2) Take your time eating. Chew well and enjoy the flavour of your foods, give your body a chance to digest food better by slowing down or by taking your time to sit down to eat with others rather than eat on the move. You are then far more likely to digest your food better. The body will release digestive enzymes from the stomach and pancreas. It will help you to recognise when you are full and help you avoid overeating, something we are all more prone to do at this time of year!
3) Start the day with a nutritious smoothie or a healthy breakfast. This will ensure you are getting a good dose of nutrients into your diet at the start of your day and this can help put you in a better mindset to continue eating healthily for the rest of the day.
4) Make sure your plate is loaded with lots of different coloured vegetables. Variety is the key! Try to buy different types of fruit and vegetables each week and try different methods of preparing them. A tray of roast vegetables, a homemade soup or stirfry are easy ways to have lots of vegetables in one meal.
5) Don’t let your fresh fruit or vegetables go to waste. We tend to buy far too much food over Christmas. Whilst you are chopping up the veg, put any leftovers in a big pan and make a wholesome vegetable soup. This can be frozen and all ready for when you need a quick nutritious lunch. The same goes for fruit, chop up and put any leftover fruit in freezer bags and it’s all ready for when you want to make a healthy smoothie.
6) Foods to help support the immune system. Fight off colds by increasing foods rich in zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C. These include: pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin seeds, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, kiwi, fish and eggs.
7) Our liver will be working extra hard over the festive season! Include all these foods to help cleanse the liver and keep it healthy: garlic, beetroot, green tea, broccoli, turmeric, green veggies, avocados and walnuts.
8) Time to recharge your batteries! Use the break from work to catch up on sleep, rest and fresh air. Wrap up warm and get some fresh air with the whole family with a wintery walk or bike ride. Yoga and meditation are also fantastic for relaxing or try an epsom salt bath!
9) Ask family and friends for holistic or pampering treats for Christmas. Presents such as a voucher for a massage or a reflexology treatment or bath salts and organic skin and hair products. These are super treats for you that will help you keep balanced, happy and healthy.
10) Have a digital detox. Try and spend some time over Christmas with a whole day or evening where you have your phone switched off and time away from the lap top and TV. Give yourself a chance to unplug and switch off!
Kate also suggests these simple seasonal nutritional ideas to keep you in good health over the holidays:
• Swap fatty foods for healthier options. Swap sausage rolls (and other pastry based canapes, which are loaded with fat and will make you feel sluggish and bloated) for olives, smoked salmon pate, houmous and veggie sticks and unsalted nuts.
• Eat a Healthy Snack before the Party. Have a healthy snack before heading out to the party so you aren’t tempted to eat too much party food.
• A glass of water and a glass of wine. Enjoy the alcohol this Christmas but try to drink a glass of water between each glass of wine, beer or cocktail. Also drink plenty of water the day of the party to support your body to flush out all the toxins!
• Mind the mulled wine! Enjoy a mulled wine at Christmas but be mindful that it can be loaded with sugar (up to 5 teaspoons in one glass). Cocktails are similar, that’s why they taste so good! Rather than drinking cocktails all night, swap to white wine spritzer, vodka or gin with tonic water or a small glass of red wine.
• Embrace seasonal veg! Brussel sprouts, leeks, beetroot, cauliflower, fennel, parsnips, red cabbage, kale, swede, Jerusalem artichokes are all full of flavour and vitamins.
• Chia seeds for hydrating. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to your water bottle, drink this before and after drinking alcohol, the chia is extra hydrating to help with your hangover recovery!
• Try out new recipes. Try cooking a few new recipes during the holidays to inspire you in the kitchen, choose nourishing recipes with lots of colourful ingredients to help give your body a boost.
We hope these easy tips give you your healthiest Christmas yet!