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How to Have Yourself a Healthier Christmas

Posted by Allie on 3rd December 2016

Tips for enjoying the Christmas season more healthily, without giving up on the festivities
Photo: Pixabay.com

Christmas is fast approaching and it’s officially party season! We all know what that inevitably involves – the endless supply of chocolates and cakes that keep appearing in the office, drinks and yet more drinks with friends and colleagues, not to mention the abundance of rich foods that feature on every Christmas menu. On the flip side of the fun and festivities is the inevitable temptation to indulge in the excess, which can lead to some unwanted weight gain and isn't ideal for women with PCOS. Here are some tips for enjoying this Christmas season more healthily.

Your attitude, your choice: First things first, if you want to adopt a healthier approach to the festive season you need to be positive and kind to yourself. By making some careful choices you can enjoy the festive season healthily. Try not to beat yourself up if you haven’t stayed on track with your healthy eating plans completely and remember each moment is an opportunity to change. If you over-indulge one day, accept it and be open to starting the next day afresh with good intentions. On the other hand, think of Christmas as an opportunity to practice kind self-discipline.

The Christmas Meal: It’s the big one! A scrumptious feast with all the trimmings. Except those trimmings can, unfortunately, add to an already expanding waistline from a season of parties. If you’re the chef on Christmas day it’s easy to put healthy food options on the table and, for example, be aware of how much salt and butter you’re adding to foods. Consider alternating higher glycemic index (GI) foods with lower GI options, such as having sweet potatoes on the table. Find out how eating low GI foods can help manage PCOS symptoms. If you'd like more information on swapping foods to low GI alternatives, check out the Glycemic Index Foundation website.

If you’re visiting someone this year, you could always offer to bring a dish and that way you know there will be a healthy option available. Another tip, fill half your plate with vegetables first and then add other food. As Christmas meals are typically pretty heavy, you could opt for a lighter breakfast. Don’t think that skipping breakfast is wise either – it will only make you hungrier for the main meal!

Control your portions: It can be easy to overeat at Christmas with the variety of delicious food on offer. Try to be conscious of your portions to avoid filling up your plate more than you would normally.

Another tip, fill half your plate with vegetables first and then add other food

A one-off large Christmas meal is not likely to significantly affect your overall health in the long run however, if you’ve been going to lots of parties and dinners over the festive season it could be another opportunity to overindulge. If so, consider making your other meals on Christmas Day, or on days when you’ll be eating out or going to parties, lighter and healthier. How about sharing a dessert to help control your portion sizes? You could also skip the three course meal if it’s offered and just stick with the main meal and a cup of tea or coffee whilst others are having dessert.

Mind the snacks: It can be tempting to eat the snacks and foods available at each party. If you have lots of parties this Christmas season, try eating light, healthy meals during the day and before some of them so you don’t turn up hungry. You could also try putting some physical distance between you and the food! Enjoy socialising away from the food table rather than eating too unhealthily. Try to pick healthier snacks if they’re available such as unsalted nuts and seeds, dried and fresh fruit, and crudités. If you have lots of chocolates and unhealthy food in the house over the season that you don’t want to be tempted by, get rid of them! If it’s not in the house, it’s not as easy to eat.

With all the abundance of meals and snacks on offer over the festive season, it can be easy to overindulge.
Photo: Pixabay.com

Drink wisely: Another big one during the festive season – alcohol. Obviously water doesn’t contain calories and is essential for our body but you may understandably fancy something a little harder this Christmas! Be aware that the calories in alcohol obviously add up so enjoy whichever drink you choose in moderation. You can try setting a limit to how much you’re going to drink or spend on alcohol. You could take cash only for the amount you plan to drink to avoid exceeding the limit you set yourself. Try cut down your alcohol intake by sticking to smaller drink sizes. Also, are there some parties where you could go alcohol-free for the night?

Keep moving: Doesn't it feel like sometimes the only activity you get on Christmas Day is walking from the living room to the kitchen for more food or drink?! If you have an established exercise regime, keep it up over the Christmas period and arrange it around your celebrations. There are lots of ways to increase your physical activity at Christmas – running around with the kids, playing physical games such as Twister or on a video game console, or going for a Christmas walk.

Last but not least, remember what Christmas is really about...Tis the season to be jolly! It’s not about putting unnecessary pressure on yourself or feeling guilty about everything you eat or drink. Make the choices that you feel are best for you and, most of all, enjoy the festive season and company of loved ones.