While Christmas doesn’t have a reputation for being the healthiest time of the year, there are a few ways that you can make it that bit healthier and maintain some healthy habits over the festive season.
Aisling Harris, Dietician for Galway based Heart and Stroke Charity Croí, has compiled some simple tips for enjoying Christmas while stile keeping an eye on your health.
Firstly, try not to stress if your exercise or healthy eating routine goes out the window. It’s 2 weeks out of 52 in the year and after the year we’ve had, it’s time for a bit of a celebration! However, be mindful that the celebration doesn’t stretch out to a month or more..
Be wary of how early you stock up on your favourite boxes of Christmas chocolates, biscuits and sweets. While we may have the best intentions of leaving them unopened until Christmas week, does that ever really happen?
And with us all likely having a lot less visitors and guests calling to our houses over the festive period, we probably don’t need to have as many treats in stock ‘for the guests’…
Watch out for the high levels of salt and saturated fat in common finger foods such as pastries, sausage rolls, quiches, spring rolls, mini pizzas, cheeses and cured meats.
Excess salt in our diet can lead to raised blood pressure while high intakes of saturated fat lead to raised cholesterol levels and weight gain.
Be mindful of how much alcohol you consume. Alcohol can negatively affect our physical and mental health and can impact on our relationships.
With Christmas 2020 bound to be a different one for many reasons, be mindful of how much alcohol you are having and how it affects you. Why not try some of the many alcohol free beers, wines, spirits and sparkling wine that are available in most supermarkets now or try some of these tasty mocktail recipes?
Try to keep some sort of routine. Whether that be sticking to a healthy breakfast rather than the leftovers from the selection box, getting out for a daily walk or scheduling in a quick home workout, make sure you have some structure to your day and take some time out to focus on you. Why not have a look at some our Croí at home workouts.
While Christmas generally isn’t the ideal time for focusing on a healthy diet, there are some ways you can ensure that you maintaining healthy habits and nourishing your body.
For example, make sure you include some fruit and vegetables every day. Why not add some lovely winter berries or fruit salad to your breakfast or have a fruit based dessert.
Make the most of the lovely in season vegetables on offer this time of year. Not sure what’s in season? See here from Bord Bia.
Be mindful of your portion sizes. Because there are so many tasty foods on offer during Christmas, it can be hard to resist sampling a bit of everything.
A simple way of being able to have a bit of what you fancy but still being mindful of your waistline is to watch your portion sizes.
This goes for everything from the portion size of your dinner, to the amount of chocolates you have while watching your favourite Christmas movie to the glass of wine you have in the evening.
Try to be mindful of your portion sizes and your hunger levels – check out our feature on mindful eating here.
We hope you have a Healthy and Happy Christmas!
From the Team at Croí