10 ways to stay health savvy over the festive season
With mince pies, prosecco and pigs in blankets likely to be in full swing over the festive season, how can you make sure you put your health first at least some of the time over the Christmas period? To help you stay energised, less stressed and feel more comfortable in that LBD our experts share their top wellbeing tips…
1. Plan ahead
“Going out to a party? You may eat later than normal, if a meal is provided, or you may need to eat earlier, before you leave, if only a few nibbles or snacks are on offer. If you are using insulin, check what food arrangements are in place so you know whether to expect a meal and if so, when,” suggests Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin the type-2 diabetes supplement (curalife.co)
2. At least start the day healthy
“Always remember that just as important as having breakfast itself, it's also vital to choose healthy breakfast options such as wholegrain cereals like porridge, organic ‘live’ natural dairy products like yogurt, organic eggs and fruit. Sugar-laden cereals will cause your blood sugar to rise sharply and drop quite quickly, making you feel more hungry quickly – you need something that will sustain you and keep you feeling fuller longer,” adds Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com).
3. Don’t forget about vitamin D
“Feeling tired and fatigued are often clear signs of low Vitamin D levels. These symptoms should be considered and a blood test can be done to confirm any possible deficiency. To make sure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D, try sense* for Busy Lives Superfood Powder (35g, £6.99, Boots) which also contains an array of vitamins and superfoods. These include baobab, which supports optimal energy release, as well as hemp that helps to decrease hormonal imbalances, to give your mood a boost. You can sprinkle this on your food, or add to your favourite smoothie, or simply mix with water,” explains Alix Woods.
4. Winter walk
“If you have eaten a heavy meal, go for a walk afterwards to help burn off the extra energy so blood glucose levels do not rise excessively. Walking off Christmas lunch is a tradition the whole family can enjoy,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin the type-2 diabetes supplement (curalife.co).
5. Don’t ‘save yourself’ before a meal out
“Don’t miss meals leading up to eating out, for example don’t miss lunch thinking that it is going to be helpful in avoiding extra calories because you are eating out that evening. If you miss meals, your body will think there is a shortage of food, slow down your metabolism and hold on tight to your fat stores. And there is nothing more guaranteed to rev up your appetite so that you end up eating more at the meal,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com).
6. Don’t be put off by fats
Swayed by what appears to be the low calorie, healthier option on the menu due to it being low in fat? Think again! “Foods high in ‘good’ fats – such as oily fish, avocadoes, raw nuts, seeds and cold-pressed oils made from seeds can help slow the release of sugars into the blood and make us feel fuller, preventing cravings,” says Marilyn.
7. Slow and steady wins the race
“Keep appetite controlled by eating little and often during the day and ensure protein with each meal and snack. If you've skipped meals/ eaten insufficient protein during the day you're more likely to feel ravenous by the evening and over indulge in salty, fatty foods and alcohol,” explains Marilyn.
8. Alcohol advice
“Spirits do naturally contain less sugar but the mixers are often sugar laden or if they are 'diet' they will contain artificial sweeteners. Red wine is better than white but often has a higher alcohol content so just drink in moderation. Something like a Bloody Mary would be a good option as the tomato juice is packed full of nutrients and it's a long drink,” advises Marilyn
9. Party proof your body
“Make sure you're eating a colourful diet rich in magnesium, B vitamins and antioxidants A, C selenium and zinc. The darker the colour such as broccoli, kale, beetroot, butternut squash and sweet potato the more of these key nutrients. They support a healthy immune system and digestion. This means even if our diet is not at it's best during the festive season, you will get some support at least. A probiotic like the NHP Probiotic Support can be taken before the party season to support healthy immunity and digestion.” NHP Probiotic Support is vegan, Kosher and Halal certified.
10. Aid anxiety – don’t ignore it
“Phytocannabinoids are natural substances found in the hemp plant, most of which are non-psychoactive – in other words, they don’t have the mind or behaviour-altering effects associated with cannabis as a drug. Research has suggested that some phytocannabinoids can have benefits for our health – including anti-anxiety, calming effects. For this reason, a supplement containing natural phytocannabinoids could have benefits for calming our nervous system and helping prevent burnout. I recommend Natures Plus HempCeutix Complete Capsules to help harmonise your mind and body (£39.95, www.naturesplus.co.uk),” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.