12 ways to stay healthy(ish) over Christmas

naturopathy healthy christmasDecember and early January can be tempting times of year to fall off your usual health regime. In some ways it’s ok to give yourself a little bit of a break and not feel too guilty about it, but there are certainly things you can do, to ensure you don’t fall too far!

Following are some tips I like to follow over this silly season, that’s right, even a Naturopath is tempted at this time.

1. Eat before you go out.

It’s hard to know what sort of food is going to be available at your Christmas party, so it helps to have a light and healthy snack before you go out. This will line your stomach to help absorb the alcohol, stop you from overeating, and ensure you still get some healthy food into you.

2. Natural hangover helpers.

If you do happen to overindulge.. and let’s be honest, it may happen at least once, following are some natural hangover helpers;

a. Coconut water is excellent for rehydrating, as it’s a natural source of electrolytes.

b. B vitamins, as a lot of these are depleted by alcohol consumption.

c. Zinc containing foods or a supplement, zinc helps alcohol dehydrogenase, which is a liver enzyme that helps to break down alcohol.

d. No beer until your wee is clear – actually it’s much better to not drink the day of a hangover, but do drink a lot of water until your urine is clear.

e. Consider taking a herbal supplement of St Mary’s Thistle before you go out, this herb does wonders for protecting the liver.

3. Work for that tart.

If  you have something coming up and you know you will be likely to indulge, earn it first with a workout and then look at it as a reward and enjoy!

4. Well hydrated throughout the day.

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day that you will be drinking so you are well hydrated before you have your first drink. Then alternate 1 drink for 1 water, you can also top your wine glass up with mineral water for a spritzer – nice and refreshing in summer, half the calories and alcohol content.

5. Eat well earlier in the day.

Sometimes when you go out it can be hard to control what you eat, and what is available. Eat all your fruit and vegetables earlier in the day, this way you know you’re getting all of your vitamins and minerals. If there is more in your dinner it is an added bonus.

6. Weight loss.

So the truth is, it’s unlikely that you are going to lose weight over Christmas and New Year, but set yourself a challenge to maintain your weight, rather than gaining any. Enjoy yourself on the days you have to such as Christmas Day and any parties, but try to keep things under control on the other days, with lots of healthy eating and exercise.

If you know you are going to have a really big dinner, then try to cut your caloric intake back for breakfast and lunch.

Don’t fall into feeling that you can eat what you want and start again in January, whatever you put on now will take those extra few weeks to come off in January

7. Keep special occasion special.

Don’t drink and indulge everyday, try to give yourself at least 2-3 days of not drinking at all.

8. Tips for eating well on holidays & when out to dinner.

It is possible to go on holidays and not pile on the kilograms. Base most of your meals around lean protein, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Try not to overindulge in carbohydrates, alcohol and desserts. Keep in mind there are 245 calories in a pina colada, so while it’s nice to enjoy yourself on holidays, the calories really add up if you have too many cocktails.

Make the most of exploring the town you are in… on foot! The walking will help balance out those extra calories.

9. Take a healthy plate.

You may not be able to control what everyone else takes/makes, but at least if you take a healthy plate you can control at least one of them to provide a nutritious meal or snack.

10. The 20 minute rule.

Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly, and allow your body 20 minutes to register before going for seconds. Another helpful tool is to consume fibre 30 minutes before eating, this could be either psyllium, chia seeds, flax or slippery elm mixed in with water. The fibre will bulk up in your stomach and you should get full before you eat too much.

11. Eat liver cleansing foods.

Eating liver cleansing foods regularly is beneficial for everyone, but even more so over this silly season when you will be putting an extra load on your liver. Eating as many of the following foods as possible – onion, garlic, broccoli, beetroot, egg yolks and lots of water.

12. Enjoy yourself.

The holidays are not just about eating and drinking, it is also about spending quality time with those that you love. So find a good balance, have the occasional treat, and enjoy this special time with your friends and family.