Christmas is the time to make merry and indulge in all kinds of delicious foods. But going overboard cannot only pack on the pounds and inches, but also might give you a case of the morning-after-blues, tempting you to open the fridge and dig into the leftovers. The season isn’t a one-time splurge, though, and can often add up to a month of major calorie intake, what with all the parties, dinners and family gatherings. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay healthy while enjoying the festive period without feeling left out. Rather than going on a strict diet, why not try to maintain your weight by planning ahead and avoiding some of those unhealthy dishes.
Drink Up- Staying hydrated is key, not only to keeping the carbohydrate bloat away, but also to curbing those cravings. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to reduce your calorie intake. Other added advantages of increasing your water intake are an increase in your metabolism that’ll help you burn calories, and flushing out the waste and toxins from your system. Water before and between those glasses of wine and eggnog will keep the hangover from making an appearance the next morning, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and with glowing skin.
Snack Smartly- We’ve all had our hand in the Christmas cookie jar at some point, and we certainly agree that it’s tough to resist the candy canes, canapés, and mince pies. While some of these dainty little appetisers may look innocent enough, the calories can quickly mount up. Planning ahead and having healthy snacks before a party can keep you from reaching across the table for one of those starters. But if you are truly famished or feeling like nibbling on something, opt for a slice of cheese or a few olives from the cheese platter. A handful of mixed nuts or a bowl of yogurt before the event can also help keep your blood sugar levels stable, keeping your cravings at bay.
Watch Those Mains- Snacks are just the preliminary round to the main event, which is the Christmas dinner; it’s definitely not going to be a healthy meal. If you’re cooking, choosing the right meat is essential for making it healthier. Turkey is the leanest and healthiest bird to consume, but if you prefer to cook another option, then watch out for the stuffing and choose healthier ingredients like cranberries and apricots rather than sausages or red meat. If you’re having the meal at a party, indulge in the meat rather than the fat-drenched crispy skin.
Watching what you put on your plate, and keeping things in moderation is ideal. Rather than taking huge portions, take a little bit of everything to satisfy your cravings. Take your time in selecting your choices, and try to fill up on the healthier options. Avoid cream-based sauces while choosing your side dishes, and go for herbed or spiced vegetables instead.
So Sweet- Try having a cup of tea or coffee before or instead of dessert. If that Christmas pudding looks too delicious and difficult to resist, have a few spoonfuls to satiate your cravings. If you still have the urge, try some fruit topped with half-fat crème fraîche or lightly sweetened yogurt, rather than custard or jelly. If you don’t want to skip a slice of the pecan pie or cheesecake, leave the crust behind. Frozen yogurt or sorbets are good options to have with a slice of cake, rather than brandy butter or a scoop of ice cream.
The Morning After- After a heavy meal, don’t be surprised if the morning-after-blues arrive the next day. Your body craves more of the fat and calories you consumed the night before; try not to give in to these temptations. Go for a brisk walk or any other physical activity that keeps you out of the house and well away from your refrigerator. Having a healthy breakfast that is full of protein and fibre is advisable, whereas skipping meals is not.
Remember: Staying active and avoiding lounging on your sofa in front of the television is important to keeping healthy.