Temptation is never as apparent as during the festive season, for you and for your family. With events and invitations streaming in, and delicious goodies available at every turn, it can seem easier to just hold up your hands and embrace it all. Whilst we should all have treats now and then and not always be denying ourselves or our children something we love, it’s also a good thing to cram in more of the good, healthy stuff, and not make it a chore. Here are some of our top tips for staying on track this Christmas and bringing in more balance, the Mediterranean way.
Get in a good breakfast
Our first meal of the day, whenever that is, can be an opportunity, often missed, for fuelling yourself with some great nutrients. Particularly if you have parties to go onto later in the day or a busy day in nursery prepping for the nativity! Stock up with a warming bowl of porridge, adding berries or bananas and some protein rich yoghurt, nut butter or ground seeds, or go big with eggs, making a frittata with a handful of spinach or scrambled on toast.
Snacking on office treats or popping in for that coffee and cake is so much easier when its cold and miserable outside. Have healthier snacks to hand when you go to playgroups or are out and about. For you, a tin or bag of almonds and dark choc pieces if you need a sweet kick. For little ones, natural yoghurt, fresh fruit or dips and raw veg or individually wrapped cheeses. If you want that piece of chocolate cake, accompany it with some nuts or seeds to give you some protein alongside your sugar.
Another one that might be me stating the obvious, but it really is important to remember. It’s already more difficult to drink those recommended 8 glasses of water a day when winter creeps in, but when festivities are underway time flies and suddenly it’s the evening and you’ve only had a cup of tea and glass of wine. Try supplementing some of those glasses of water with herbal teas and infusions, they will keep you warm and hydrated.
Exercise always helps, and never more so than during Christmas. A brisk walk outside will not only add up steps quickly, but will also make you feel better (and cold weather can mean your body has to work harder to stay warm, so more calories burnt!)
Canapes: swap the crisps for crudités. Cut sticks of raw vegetables served with dips make great snacks. Prepare ahead by peeling and cutting up carrot and storing in a Tupperware with ice cold water for a couple of days. Shop bought hummus is a good dip, but you can so easily make your own. Try our frozen pea hummus (also great with addition of a few florets of cooked broccoli whizzed in this for added veg goodness!
Changing the way meals are served can help curb over-consumption. Scientists at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab have conducted a study on how optical illusions can trick the mind – and belly – into eating less.
If you’re the host, serve food in smaller bowls and plates, and with smaller serving spoons rather than big ladles or tongs.