From mince pies to mulled wine, the festive season is packed with indulgent treats. On average, we gain 1-5lbs during December1, a gift that some of us would rather not receive. Generally any extra lbs are a result of us deviating away from our everyday habits and taking a more indulgent path in the run up to, and over Christmas and New Year. For many as well as food consumption increasing alcohol consumption does too.
According to Government advice, both men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. It’s also better if these are spread across the week, rather than consumed in one go. It’s easy to overdo the alcohol in December, so be mindful of how much you drink and follow these tips to help you stay within your units:
• Try your best to alternate alcoholic drinks with water or low sugar soft drinks
• Look out for an alcohol-free alternative to your favourite tipples – your head will thank you for it in the morning!
• Offer to be the designated driver. Not only will your friends love you, you can save calories and money.
Remember there are no miracle hangover cures – drinking water will help re-hydrate you, but high fat/sugar foods and drinks will only make you feel worse in the long run. There's nothing wrong with a cooked breakfast the morning after if that's what takes your fancy, just make it healthier by grilling your bacon, poaching your eggs and make it wholegrain toast instead of white. Adding tomatoes and mushrooms will balance out your plate, providing 1-2 of your 5 a day.
Here are a few hints and tips on enjoying Christmas without piling on the pounds.
GET ACTIVE: Whether it’s a 20 minute brisk walk or an intense spinning class, exercise will help counteract any extra calories consumed. Fit some activity into each day if you can.
PARTY ON: Don’t head to a party on an empty stomach. Eat a healthy snack before you leave and you'll be far less likely to overdo it at the buffet and it will help prevent alcohol having such a quick effect.
CHOOSE WISELY: When eating out, think carefully about your menu choices. Three-course meals can rack up the calories, so opt for a lighter starter and dessert, such as vegetable soups or salads and sorbet or fruit.
PLAN AHEAD: If you know you’re out for a big lunch or dinner, plan your other meals around this. Why not make a big batch of wholesome vegetable based soup that's ready for you in the fridge when you get home?
BE DRINK SAVVY: Alcoholic drinks can be costly in terms of sugar and calories, and on the purse strings. If you keep an eye on your intake you may find you crave fewer salty snacks, which are typical go-to foods after consuming a lot alcohol, and fewer high fat hangover treats too.
GET YOUR 5 A DAY: Staying topped up with plenty of immune boosting micronutrients will help prevent illness over the festive period.
Ultimately the main thing is to enjoy yourself over the Christmas and New Year period, and you can always set yourself some health and wellbeing goals at the start of 2018. Merry Christmas!
References: 1The British Dietetic Association