A healthy festive season - part 1

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Dec 1, 01:30 PM in and . No comments.

Advent calendars are being whipped out all over the country and people are preparing for the onslaught of the “festive season”. The festive season is a dangerous time when it comes to letting your guard down and the loosening up of healthy habits. There are parties, dinners, baking, the stressful rushing around, less activity due to the cold and those lovely Xmas treats everywhere. It doesn’t help that mince pies and sweets have been pushed on us by the supermarkets since November.

Now, while I am certainly not pushing the “how to lose weight to fit into your party dress” concept, it is important to watch your healthy habits over this time. You do not want to start your New Year feeling heavy, bloated and run down.

Reasons you should keep up with healthy habits over December

1. It’s a stressful time for many – you need a good balance of healthy food and activity to keep you feeling energetic and to help with mood.
2. We can be prone to catching colds and the flu over this period. You need to make sure you are fighting fit.
3. Bringing Christmas Day forward and making it Christmas Month can mean lots of added sugary and snack type foods. Too much of these and not enough balance can leave you with weight gain as well as problems such as bowel or skin issues.
4. Sometimes festive indulgences can result in unhealthy guilty feelings. We just don’t need that.

Don’t compromise on your health just because it’s December. There is nothing festive about bringing yourself crashing into January with a thump.

So, over the next few days or so, I will be adding some survival tips.

Let’s start with Tip 1

Normalise as much as possible

When shopping for your festive foods, don’t forget to buy your every- day healthy items as well and plan ahead with some quick and easy meals. How many of us eat junky left-overs on Boxing Day because there is “nothing in”? I’ve spoken to a few people who are so focussed on the Festive menu shopping that they forget to buy for all of their other needs. Plan and do as much prep as you can. You need to normalise the month as possible. Sure, you will have some outings but why eat any differently at home. Have breakfast every day, include plenty of vegetables and some fruit each day, drink plenty of water , have a good balance of whole-grains and protein and try to avoid sugars and sugar foods. Make sure you have at least 4 days a week where you are doing this. A lot of the problems around the festive season are down to snacking and treating in the month building up to Christmas day rather than the day itself. It’s nice to have a treat but you are better off keeping it for when it is “special”.

More tips tomorrow…

Tags: Christmas

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.

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