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Christmas survival guide: eat well

Christmas survival guide: How to eat well

What springs to mind when you think about Christmas? Presents? Sleigh bells? Tinsel? But what’s the thing we all look forward to the most? You guessed it - the food!

We love to indulge in our favourite festive foods over the Christmas period. From mince pies and selection boxes to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Even your workplace can become inundated with sweet treats, but it’s important to make sure that we look after our nutrition while enjoying a Christmas cookie or two.

If you’re worried that you’ll fall off the healthy eating bandwagon or want some advice on how you can keep your body well nourished, we’ve got some top tips on how to eat well over the Christmas build up.

Eating out

Christmas is in the air and it seems that every weekend in December is booked up with Christmas dos, friendly catch ups and festive lunches. It can be hard to stick to our healthy eating habits while eating out, so here’s a how you can enjoy yourself while eating out, but make smart choices:

Shake off the salt

It’s recommended that adults eat no more than 6g salt a day, which is easy to keep track of when you’re cooking dinner or buying lunch from the supermarket, but what about when you’re eating out? Here’s how you can cut down on salt when eating out or ordering in:

  • When you order a pizza, choose a vegetable or chicken topping instead of pepperoni, bacon, or extra cheese.
  • If you’re having a pasta dish, choose one with a tomato-based sauce with vegetables or chicken, rather than bacon, cheese or sausage.

Braving the buffet

Buffets can be dangerous for anyone who loves their food because before you know it you’re 4 plates deep and 1000 calories over your daily recommended amount. Try loading your first plate with healthy options, like lean meats and vegetables, before you head for the calorific sides.

Hangover food

Is seems temptation is around every corner in December, but eating the wrong food can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. It’s hard not to reach for the crisps, fast food or bacon sandwich the morning after the night before, but try eating these tips on a hangover to help you feel better:

  • Rehydrate to help deal with the painful symptoms and drink bland liquids that are easy on the stomach, like water and soda water.
  • Eat a veggie soup – try a bouillon, a thin vegetable-based broth which has a good source of vitamins and minerals and is easy for the stomach to digest.
  • Sugary foods can help you feel less trembly.
  • Fruit smoothies with potassium rich foods like bananas, apricots and oranges as they help replenish the electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.

Hydration is key

Drinking a minimum of 1.2 litres can not only improve the condition of your skin, it improves drowsiness, headaches, concentration and energy levels. Most of us enjoy the odd boozy night, but around the festive build up we’re out socialising more and enjoying a Christmas tipple or two. We know we’re a little worse for wear after a night on the beer, so keeping hydrated to help your body repair is essential.

Here’s how you can keep hydrated on a night out, avoid that horrendous hangover and hopefully a red faced moment after a Christmas do:

  • The more alcohol you drink, the less water your body retains, so drink plenty of water before you go out.
  • Try alternating between an alcoholic and a soft drink to help to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Avoid dark drinks as they contain more alcoholic toxins which contributes to hangovers. Drinking water will help to flush out these toxins and minimise their effect.
  • Eating isn’t cheating, the presence of food in the stomach will help delay the absorption of alcohol into the blood and stop you getting drunk very quickly. Don't be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking, you’ll be missing vital nutrients your body needs from food.
  • Try drinking coconut water, it helps to hydrate you quicker because of its electrolyte content (including potassium).

Top tip: Not a fan of water? Try adding a slice of lemon or lime or getting a bottle with a fruit infuser and adding fresh fruit.

Eating your feelings

Did you know that food and alcohol can affect your mood? Take a look at Mind’s food and mood chart to find out how what you’re eating can make you feel.

Found these tops helpful? We have loads more expertise on how to get you and your colleagues fit and healthy. To see how we can support you on your healthy eating and knowledge nutrition journey. Take a look at our I-WILL* wellbeing resources and Wellbeing workshops for expert advice to support behaviour change.

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