Ten Tips for Healthy Eating over Christmas
Christmas can be a joyful time of feasts, festivities and frivolities. Putting on a few pounds over Christmas is not unusual and is not necessarily a bad thing as a bit of extra padding can help keep us warm over the cold, winter months to come. However, not everyone needs an extra layer of fat, and indeed, it may have detrimental effects on health. The average Christmas dinner can add up to 3,000 calories – that’s more than most of us should be eating in a day. Add on breakfast, snacks, alcohol and chocolates and you might tip into 5000 calories in one day.
Overindulging not only leads to weight gain, but can lead to heartburn and other digestive problems. Here are 10 simple tips to help reduce the potential negative effects of over-indulging, while still enjoying the festive season.
Eat consciously – be mindful and enjoy every mouthful.
Avoid grazing – try to leave a few hours between meals to allow digestion to take place before piling in more food.
Choose wisely – limit heavy creams, sauces and fried foods. If you love these foods then allow yourself to indulge but be sure to enjoy them in moderation.
Choose vegetables – load up on salads, vegetables and good quality proteins.
Think portion size – eating small amounts of indulgent foods is fine. Just don’t overdo it.
Move away from the buffet table – standing near the food will lead to constant grazing. Step away from the table!
Just Say No – don’t feel obliged to say yes to every bit of food that is offered to you. Consider whether you really want it and how much you will enjoy it.
Chew well – eat slowly and enjoy what you are eating.
Take a break between courses – it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full so wait and see if you are still hungry before saying yes to more food.
Hydrate – drink water and herbal teas between meals to ensure good hydration.
Tips to Avoid heartburn:
- Steer clear of foods that trigger heartburn for you – these might be fried or fatty foods, spicy food, acidic foods, caffeine or alcohol.
- Avoid eating large meals
- Chew well
- Avoid wearing tight clothing
- Wait a few hours after eating before lying down
- Elevate the head end of the bed
- Sleep on your left side
- Take regular exercise but wait a few hours after eating before getting physical
- Watch your weight – overweight people tend to suffer from heartburn
- Quit smoking – cigarette smoking can make heartburn worse
For information about how spices can keep you healthy read the blog post Spice Up Your Christmas. And for ideas on how to manage stress, alcohol intake, and over excited children, among other things, see the blog post Have a Happy Healthy Christmas.