With the busy period approaching this can create many mixed feelings for many of us. Whether we are trying to stick to a strict budget, juggle social events, getting along with distant family members (or not getting along!), finalising work commitments, trying not too put on too much weight.. the list goes on and on!
Whichever the situation the Christmas period can emote not only feelings of excitement, relief, love and happiness, it can be a period of intense stress, frustration, fatigue, loneliness and mental anguish!
It’s therefore so important we continue to put our health first. Especially our mental health because as we know, good health is holistic and we need to maintain and look after all areas!
The good news is that a healthy diet will boost your energy and keep your mood stable throughout the pressures of the coming weeks. Putting your health first will probably mean that you will be able to enjoy Christmas, drop the ‘silly’ and stay cool, calm and collected!
Here are some tips to keep you on the healthy eating pathway during the Christmas season.
- Use your Freezer! It’s a very busy time of the year, you may be eating out more, partying out more however cooking and freezing dinners ahead of time will mean you have healthy, unprocessed food easily available at a moment’s notice
- Eat to build immunity. When you’re tired and run down it’s easier to catch colds and bugs. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin C by loading ½ your plate with a variety of difference vegetables or salads and have at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit/day.
- Planning and preparation; Keeping a calendar on the wall with all the upcoming Christmas events can help to avoid family clashes, meet work deadlines, attend end of year functions whilst writing a shopping list and organising time to go Christmas shopping earlier than later to avoid the crowds!
- Focus eating regular meals. No meal skipping! This can help ovoid over-eating and snacking during the day, you’ll also have more willpower to say no to the extra mince pies offered!
- Optimise fluid intake and not just the alcoholic fluids! Alcohol is shown have a depressant effect on the brain which means this can deflate your mood even further if already feeling low. This can lead to over eating and snacking on energy dense food choices. It is important to sip regularly on water to reduce the hangover effects of alcohol and keep hydrated.
- Get active outdoors. Get those feel good endorphins going by planning activities with the family outside away from the Christmas table smorgasbord! Plan some traditional outdoor games with the children (such as your 3 legged race, egg and spoon race) or a soccer/volleyball game and join in on the action. This also allows us to get some vitamin D from the sun
- Look after your body. Prioritising exercise time for yourself first thing in the morning means that you are less likely going to be distracted by other day to day activities and never ending do to lists, it may also reduce stress and pent up frustration! You might even like to try some yoga!
- Eats foods to improve mood and increase energy. Magnesium rich foods such as spinach, green leafy vegetables, nuts, yoghurt, salmon and eggs can reduce muscle tension, headaches and reduce fatigue. B- Vitamins help us to convert food into energy, eating wholegrain bread, sweet potato, eggs, milk, green vegetables and avocado to maximise on these vitamins.
- Be Present. Lastly and very importantly, sit back and take a moment to enjoy the day! Appreciate the delicious food and good company! Take your time to use all your senses; taste, smell and texture. Try having small sips of water during the meal and resting your knife and fork down in between each mouthful. This allows time for our stomach to send satiety signals to the brain letting us know we are full.