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Nutritional Tips for Surviving the Christmas Season

Friends toasting in front of a table of party food
Friends toasting a celebration

It’s less than three weeks to Christmas and already the festive season functions are amping up: work, school and sports end of year, plus social events with friends and neighbours. Dealing with the temptation of alcoholic or sugary drinks and nibbles inevitably become a regular challenge over this time for many of us. With the added pressures of shopping for gifts/ food, work, and needing to organise school-age children as well as general end of year requirements this can be a stressful time for many. Then throw in poor eating habits, less sleep and extra alcohol during what is meant to be a joyous and celebratory time, our usual regular routines can be thrown totally out of sync.

Hummus and vege snackes
Nibbles of food

Christmas can be a difficult time for sticking to a nutritious whole foods diet. I've outlined some tips to make it easier for you to keep it as healthy as possible.

1. Plan to keep up with your regular routine of:

- eating well

- - taking supplements and/or superfoods that will help you through this busy-ness such as magnesium for sleep, a probiotic for gut health, B vitamins for energy, smoothies packed full of goodness for breakfast.

- lifestyle daily 'dos' such as regular walks, time out for unwinding and meditation (or mindfulness/ breathing). Many people drop their routine when on holidays, especially with visitors staying, or when going on holiday, but if you aim for as healthy as possible most of the time you are more likely to stay on track.

2. Don’t go to a party or event hungry. It’s a good idea to have a snack before going out. This will reduce the chances of eating the not-so-nutritious party food. A high-protein snack will help you to feel full, as well as helping your food choices after a glass or two of bubbly! Some ideas include a handful of nuts and seeds, a boiled egg, or veggie sticks with hummus.

Hummus and tabouleh
Hummus and taboule

3. Contribute a nutritious plate. If you’re taking a plate to a function, or are hosting at your home, serve dishes that are nutritious – homemade dips with veggies sticks, nuts and seeds, salads, roasted veggies, lean meat dishes, fresh seafood, a big fruit platter and chia pudding for dessert. You'll find that others gravitate towards these foods too!

4. Do not try to lose weight This is fairly self-explanatory. It is going to be a very determined person who will be successful at losing weight over the festive season. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.

You can do the following to help:

Consider your food choices – a. start the day with a green smoothie (make sure you have protein and healthy fats in it to ensure you feel full!

b. go for the whole foods such as salads & vegetables, protein or fruit instead of offerings such as pastries, chips, sweet desserts or chocolate b. pile your plate high with the healthiest salad. (Not pasta salad as that is full of carbohydrates)

c. wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. That is how long it takes for the chemical messangers signalled by your full stomach to get to your your brain and for it to register that you’re full.

5. Ensure you have healthy snacks ready. If you’re out for a while (such as trying to get all your shopping done in one go!), pack a snack to take with you, or keep something in the car, or in your office. Some brazil nuts, or almonds or an apple, or even a protein bar will serve you better for morning tea instead of a Xmas mince tart with your coffee.

6. Choose the best drinks. Make sure that you stay well hydrated during the festive season. With the increased consumption of alcoholic beverages, it is easy to become dehydrated. Drinking lots of water with alcohol (aim to alternate between water and that glass of wine) also helps with the dreaded hangover. The other option is to take some sparkling mineral water and a lemon, or some lovely flavoured kefir drink or kombucha with you when you go to events. (Don't drink too much of these probiotic drinks though as they are designed more for an aperitif. They don't suit all types of digestion either.)

If you suffer from digestive issues (bloating, reflux, diarrhoea, colitis) you may need some support with working out which foods are the best for you, book in for a naturopathic consultation so we can create a plan for you and you can start working on improving your health for 2023!

The other alternative is a Hair Test - this is an effective way to work out which foods are causing your body discomfort. It takes the guess work out of which foods you need to avoid.

If you are ready to kick start the new year with a change in your eating and lifestyle I offer a 21 Day Whole Food Cleanse where we have four sessions over 4 weeks and as well as offering some weekly recipe and guides we discuss sugar, toxins, nutrients and much more. Click on the picture to read about it.

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