Christmas is a time when many people can find their discipline and consistency with nutrition wane.
This can quickly lead to overindulgence with festive food and drink.
The problem lies in the “all or nothing” approach, when, in fact, there is no need to say “no” to everything.
Instead, the main aim around the festive period should be to enjoy everything in moderation.
Don’t worry if you do not know where to start – we have compiled some great nutrition tips so you can enjoy your Christmas without completely falling off the wagon.
#1: Start with a good breakfast
Instead of the usual easy processed cereals or toast and jam, start your day with a high protein breakfast and healthy fats to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Something like a spinach and tomato omelette, or poached eggs and avocado, will not only keep you feeling fuller for longer, but it will also give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals and help stabilise your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
Try not to skip breakfast altogether with the goal of saving calories up, as this can affect your blood sugar, energy and mood, leaving you feeling ravenous and more likely to overeat later!
#2: Watch your liquid calories
The festive period is a time many people like to relax and enjoy a drink. However, you can have too much of a good thing, and it is important to choose your drinks wisely.
Festive favourites such as eggnog, mulled wine and creamy liqueurs are high in calories and really easy to overconsume.
Alcohol, in particular, contributes empty calories which have little to no nutritional value and can contribute to making poorer food choices throughout the day.
If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation and ensure you are counteracting with plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
#3: Focus on nutrient-dense foods
When it comes to Christmas dinner, instead of focusing on calories, pay attention to nutrients.
There are plenty of small changes you can make to your Christmas dinner without sacrificing taste or enjoyment.
Ensuring most of your plate is filled with lots of vegetables, a serving of lean protein and keeping the trimmings, such as stuffing or gravy, to a moderate amount will mean you are ticking all the nutritional boxes.
Luckily there is usually always plenty of turkey and vegetables on the Christmas menu!
#4: Visit people, not food
Christmas is a time to socialise and spend time with our nearest and dearest so make that the main focus of your day, rather than the food.
Whatever you do choose to eat, make it a part of the social occasion that you share with friends and family rather than overindulging alone or eating mindlessly in front of the TV.
Always think to yourself, ‘this food was meant to be shared and enjoyed together socially, not to be eaten alone.’
#5: Eat until satisfied, not stuffed
Christmas is a day to eat what you enjoy, but this is not to be confused with “eat everything and anything in sight”. So, try not to take that mindset to the dinner table.
Nobody likes that overly–full and sick feeling when we eat to excess just because something is there or because we are bored, rather than actually needing it.
So, avoid eating just for the sake of it, and instead focus on quality not quantity.
#6: Remove the guilt
Although you want to be mindful, remember that you can sit back, relax and enjoy your time with friends and family, and if you do overindulge, do not beat yourself up.
Do not overly restrict and deprive yourself for the next week to compensate, as this will only encourage and lead to bad habits long-term.
Instead, shift your focus to getting back to your normal eating and exercise routine.