We are all hoping for a more ’normal’ Christmas this year! Let’s hope that within sensible parameters we will be able to socialise with family and friends. The danger is that after missing out last year we may feel the need to really let our hair down! And I think we deserve to but best not lose sight of our health in a haze of food and drink.

Here is a reminder of my top tips to stay on track but still enjoy the party season.

Plan Your Food
Firstly, stop and think… we often fall into the trap of ordering what we think we ‘should’ eat at Christmas. Before adding it to the basket ask yourself, ‘do we really need a Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, 2 packets of mince pies, a stollen, a panettone, brandy butter, custard, ice cream, a tin of Christmas biscuits and a tin of Christmas chocolates?’!

Planning ahead is the best way to keep on track with healthy food and it also reduces the stress if you know what is on the menu. Include some healthy treats in there so you don’t feel like you are missing out.

Here are some ideas to think about:
🎄 Do a freezer top up now – batch cook and freeze some healthy meals so they are ready for when life gets hectic or you just can’t be bothered to cook.

🎄Write a meal plan for Christmas week – prepare meals ahead when you can or plan to use your freezer stocks. This takes off the pressure so you can then relax and enjoy family time.

🎄 If you are eating out look at the menu in advance – This gives you the opportunity to study it more closely and choose wisely. Having 2 courses instead of 3, avoiding the bread basket and asking for some olives or nuts instead works for me.

🎄 Have some ‘morning after’ breakfasts ready to go like a vegetable frittata or some overnight oats.

🎄 Make a batch of chocolate bark with nuts and seeds and dried fruit. It is a great way to avoid tucking into the selection box that the kids get!

Stay Hydrated
At this time of year many of us drink more alcohol, tea and coffee. If we are out of our normal routine and are spending more time sedentary in centrally heated houses this can contribute to dehydration.

Here are some ideas which might help:
🎄Keep a bottle of water by your bed and have some water as soon as you wake.

🎄Start the day with a cup of hot water with lemon instead of coffee.

🎄Buy a new flavour of herbal tea to try.

🎄Fill a water bottle in the morning and aim to refill at lunch time and dinner time.

🎄Drink some coconut water which is full of electrolytes helping to balance fluids in the body.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Don’t let sleep fall too far down the priority list! If and when you have a late night, try and compensate with some early nights and a lie in or even an afternoon nap!! Remember your body needs time to recover, repair and detox. Be kind to yourself this Christmas time.

Don’t Forget to Move
During the holidays we all tend to want to down tools but make a plan to keep moving. We have had a lot of practice at being out of our ‘normal’ routine during the pandemic so have no excuses. But if you have found it difficult to adapt when your gyms or classes are shut, here are some ideas:

🎄 Book in a walk with friends or family or just take yourself off to get some space and fresh air.

🎄Try an online workout, there are many fab YouTube videos… try Popsugar with Ranier Pollard, Yoga with Adriene or Heather Roberts.

🎄Run about with the kids in the garden or the park.

🎄Try something new to you, a bike ride or a run/jog – couch to 5K apps are great.

Mindful Drinking
If you enjoy an alcoholic drink then Christmas season can often be difficult to manage and easy to get carried away even if you are just at home. Be mindful of this and plan for the odd big night and be moderate on others. On the big nights still be mindful:

🎄Remember to eat well too.

🎄Try to stick to the same drink.

🎄Choosing colourless spirits is often the better option.

🎄Drink water as well as alcohol.

🎄Take water to have by your bed.

Enjoying this Festive Season however it looks for you this year. Relax and have fun but don’t derail completely and overindulge, leaving yourself a new year clean-up project!

Instead take some time to prioritize your health for 2022. Your health has never been so important and keeping yourself fit and healthy is your best protection from becoming sick with covid or otherwise.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of feeding our bodies correctly for all round health, join us in the New Year for our Nutrition: The Mind-Body Connection workshops including Eating for your Mind, Eating for your Gut and Eating for Life.  For more information and booking details head to my website www.timetonourish.co.uk/workshops