Christmas is the season for making merry, enjoying mulled wine and munching on mince pies; but it’s also a time when all that tempting food and drink seems to be everywhere. You will be tempted, from office drinks, family-sized biscuit selection boxes, glasses of champagne through to multiple mini chocolates scattered around the house.
This all makes it seem a lot harder to avoid festive indulging here and there, but don’t worry, everyone has their favourite seasonal treat, and so long as you enjoy them in moderation, there’s no harm done.
We’ve put together a list of our top tips for avoiding excess when it comes to eating and drinking this Christmas.
No. 1 – Don’t forget all your good habits
If you usually make good food choices, eat mindfully and take regular exercise, it’s important not to throw everything out the window come to the arrival of Christmas.
By all means, let your hair down and indulge in the joys of Christmas parties and office drinks. Adapting your schedule if needs be, miss a gym session or two so you can make your festive events, but try not to lose your whole routine in the long run.
Sure, be a little lenient with your exercise and health routine, but don’t forgo them entirely. Good habits can often be really difficult to get back into, so staying as tight as you can to your schedule will really help you come January.
And on the plus side, staying active will make you feel so much better after the parties and Christmas food!
No. 2 – Never arrive hungry to a Christmas party
While it may be tempting to avoid eating throughout the day so you can justify eating more at a Christmas party later, you’re only going to shoot yourself in the foot. You’ll just end up arriving starved and suffering from an inability to moderate your intake, leading to an unfortunate stuff-fest of party snacks, choccies and cheap nibbles.
In real talk, you’ll eat way more than what you would have originally if you’d arrived with regulated blood sugar levels, and most likely everything you eat will be in the form of sugary and high-fat snacks.
Also don’t forget to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re thinking of enjoying a glass of champagne later that evening.
No. 3 – Bring your own delicious but healthy alternatives
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with bringing your own dishes along to a party, and more often than not you’ll get extra brownie points from friends and family for bringing something so tasty along with you!
This way you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and you won’t have to feel any guilt for chowing down on your healthy Christmas recipes.
Plus if you make your own treats with nutritious ingredients,you won’t be able to eat as many as the nutritionally empty processed mince pies.
There’s an abundance of fun and creative ways to enjoy your usual festive sweet treats and nibbles, you just have to know where to look! See my blog from last year on 7 Gluten Free and Dairy Free Festive Desserts and Nibbles.
Healthier alternatives are the perfect way to indulge but without feeling guilty. Plus there’s really nothing better than some home baking to really get you in the mood for Christmas time, am I right?!
No. 4 – Practise portion control and be selective
Rather than eating all the sugary Christmas food that comes your way, save yourself instead for a slice of your favourite Christmas cake or that mouth-watering homemade dessert your sister is bringing along.
Don’t just blow your entire calorie budget by munching your way through endless bowls of crisps, cheap sweets or an entire bag of chocolates simply because they’re there. Snacking mindlessly can only lead to trouble!
You all know the saying quality over quantity, and here’s where that saying really comes in to play. Instead, select a couple of your favourite treats and really enjoy them, whether it’s one really high-quality, decadent chocolate treat, one sweet and crumbly mince pie, or one slice of Christmas pudding with cream.
And don’t forget portion size. There’s nothing wrong with sampling your favourite festive treats, but try to stick to smaller portions that your eyes may be demanding so you can truly enjoy the taste but without adding a whack of unnecessary calories and a heaping of guilt to your evening.
One way to help achieve this is to use a smaller plate. Research has shown that using a smaller plate actually tricks you mind into thinking it’s eating a larger portion. Fun fact!
No. 5 – Stay hydrated
Hydration is important every day all year round, but especially at this time of year when you’re surrounded by so many sweet temptations, living or working in central heated homes or offices and running around like a mad-man trying to get your Christmas shopping completed.
All of this can contribute to dehydration, so try to drink at least 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day, and more if you’re physically active.
Here’s another fun fact. Your brain often misinterprets the feeling of thirst for hunger, so promptly sends you off for more food when actually you’re just thirsty! Next time you’re feeling a bit peckish, opt for a glass of water instead of that tempting looking biscuit selection box!
Another tip is to drink a glass of water 30 mins or so before a meal as the extra liquid can help you feel full and encourage you to eat less. Don’t drink it too close to your meal as you can dilute your digestive fluids and cause digestion upheaval!
No. 6 Don’t overindulge in alcohol
Whilst it’s lovely to share a few merry drinks with family and friends, the festive season should not be seen as an excuse to forget your personal limits with alcohol. Don’t forget that alcohol is really high in calories, and a few too many drinks can cause weight gain that will settle on in for the winter!
There’s also the unfortunate side effect that the more you drink, the less inhibited you may feel about helping yourself to that second or third plateful of food from the buffet – not the best move for your waist line!
Make sure to stay as hydrated as possible before your tipple, and if you’re out for the night, try to alternate alcoholic beverages with water as often as possible. Not only will this help keep you full, but it should reduce your alcohol calorie intake, and help you stay hydrated (with the hopeful benefits of reducing the chances of a hangover the next day!)
No. 7 Avoid buying too much food
Cupboards stocked with excessive amounts of Christmas food, chocolates and biscuits are a recipe for disaster. You’ll only find it that much harder to resist the temptation and end up eating them so they ‘don’t go to waste’.
Purchase only what you need by filling your cupboards with healthy ingredients and try to avoid buying large boxes of chocolates and biccies.
No. 8 Let go of the guilt
I love this time of year, what with its increase in festive spirit, parties, family gatherings and an abundance of delicious foods.
However guilt tends to lurk its ugly head for many people, especially with the increase in food and celebrations.
Christmas food is a wonderful part of the festivities and the worst thing is to feel guilty over this time and punish yourself. Food is to be celebrated!
The festive period is all about balance and not going over the top when indulging in things that you normally wouldn’t eat or drink.
Remember that it’s not an all or nothing affair at Christmas when it comes to your diet. Many people feel tempted to throw caution to the wind, eat everything they want and tell themselves they’ll worry about the results when it comes time to the New Year.
In all honesty though, you’re likely to feel much better about yourself (and dread January less) if you practice the above tips for avoiding excess when it comes to eating and drinking this Christmas.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.