December can be a hectic month with lots of socialising, shopping and preparation for Christmas and it’s easy to let our health suffer.
Here are some easy tips to keeping on top of things…..
Big night out? Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Have a small meal before you go out – something with protein and vegetables will help maintain your blood sugar levels – hummus and crudités, a chicken salad sandwich or some natural Greek yoghurt with berries and seeds.
Alternate a glass of water (or at least something non-alcoholic) with every alcoholic drink. Sparkling mineral water can look festive but help minimise the morning after symptoms and reduce the chance of doing something silly!
If you have had a little too much to drink have a snack before bed (together with another glass of water). A slice of wholemeal toast can do the trick. Some honey can make it a high sugar snack but the potassium in the honey helps deal with the alcohol.
Don’t starve yourself before a big meal – this results in low blood sugar which increases our cravings for the fatty, salty and sugary treats that are on offer. Eat healthily during the day – focus on vegetables, nuts and fruit like apples and pears to help maintain your energy levels.
It’s easy to feel tempted to overeat at this time of year. Make the effort to eat mindfully, put your cutlery down between mouthfuls which will help you to slow down, enjoy your food, and talk to your friends and family. By eating more slowly, you’ll be more in touch with the signals which will tell you you’re full.
Stick to a three-bite rule for desserts and cakes – research shows that we enjoy the first bite the most and once we have more than three bites we don’t enjoy the treat as much. Savour each mouthful!
Don’t feel obliged to eat – you are allowed to smile, say thank you but that you are too full to enjoy what is on offer. You can always ask to take some home or save for later.
A lot of the food on offer at this time isn’t too unhealthy. Vegetables, turkey, etc. It’s the added extras – pigs in blankets, rich sauces, nibbles, etc. which do the damage. Limit the optional extras and focus on the main attraction.
When we’re busy it’s easy to forget to drink enough and it is SO easy to confuse thirst with hunger -especially if there are lots of nibbles on offer. Make sure you keep sipping water through the day.
Don’t abandon your exercise – it helps manage stress which we often experience at this time of year. Even if you can’t do your normal routine make sure you get out in the fresh air for a walk – take the family with you or leave them behind to get some down time. Dancing is great exercise – even around the kitchen!
Our livers must work overtime to deal with the rich food and any alcohol we drink. Help them do their best by eating lots of vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones – Brussel sprouts are excellent along with broccoli, kale, cabbage and spinach. Eat lots of colourful fruit and vegetables to help and walnuts, eggs, mushrooms and avocados all help boost levels of anti-oxidants.
Don’t forget to sleep. We need sleep to be healthy and when we’re not getting enough we end up looking at caffeine and sugar to keep us going!