A Nutritionist’s Guide to Surviving Christmas Parties
It’s the time of year again to be merry and eat plenty, and the battle starts for surviving Christmas parties. Here are the top tips on surviving this time of year without appearing neither like Father Christmas himself by the end nor like a spoiled sport who refuses to have fun and be merry either.
You can have fun while trying to avoid the usual pitfalls of the Festive Season, such as bad hangovers, mad sweet cravings, feeling bloated after large meals, or weight gain. It’s really important to focus on your health and well-being and navigating the Christmas season. Stay focused on yourself and your goals.
Make sure you have plenty of fun with food.
If you’re otherwise following a strict routine, allow yourself some time off to enjoy Christmas drinks and dinners and spend quality time with family and friends. While you might be breaking your usual diet, you don’t have to go “all out”.
If you normally don’t eat bread, allow yourself one small roll at the start of dinner. If you normally don’t eat carbs after 6 pm, allow yourself one delicious roast potato. Make a pact with yourself before you go out for a meal – either allow yourself a starter or a dessert. Never both, as you will end up overeating.
Beat the bloat
Do you feel full and uncomfortable after a larger meal? That’s your body’s way of telling you that you’ve overdone it. The body produces litres of digestive fluids daily, but only a certain amount for each meal. Feeling full and bloated is a sign of eating too much; your digestive system is pressured to break down and absorb all the food you’ve just eaten. Fatty foods such as chips, gravies, fatty cuts of meat and heavy desserts are the main culprits here. Avoid these as much as possible, and replace them with a side salad, an extra portion of green vegetables, or a request for fruit or sorbet for dessert.
Stay safe while having fun
How much drink is too much drink? While we won’t go into the government guidelines on healthy drinking here, you should focus on limiting your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is sugar, and sugar is empty calories. Think of it this way; alcohol drains your energy the next day. You can easily avoid drinking too much alcohol by making sure to alternate your drinks with water: one glass of wine must be followed by a glass of water; a bottle of beer can be followed by a bottle of sparkling water. Ensure you have more alcohol-free nights in the week than nights when you drink.
Keep up your gym routine
Make time for yourself, and go to the gym and get your weekly exercise in. While social appointments are important, ensuring you are getting exercise is also important. We are all allowed to cut down on our usual exercise routines during the Festive Season, but it’s important to keep up some sort of routine.
Keeping up some form of exercise will maintain fitness, but more importantly, it’ll also burn excess calories eaten and help you wind down and relax if the pre-Christmas season is getting to you. Staying active will also reduce the risk of you gaining weight and overeating, as exercise balances blood sugars and reduces cravings. Your gym sessions will help you produce much-needed serotonin (the happy hormone) to boost your energy and confidence.