12 tips for a healthier Christmas and New Year

Rebecca Clarke
Written by Rebecca Clarke

Everyone is gearing up to the holiday season and that includes buying food, treats and drinks to help the festivities along. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing many people will find themselves suffering the consequences of their indulgences so here are a few tips to help you enjoy your time and feel healthier.

  1. Drink more water – yes I know it may be boring but being hydrated will help combat headaches, dry skin and improve memory as well as helping to negate the effects of alcohol!! You can also flavour the water with fruit such as berries, kiwi and oranges although try to avoid shop bought water with sweeteners added.
  2. Get your vitamin D – go out for a walk to get some fresh air and some well-deserved time away from stuffy houses and top up your vitamin D levels. You may also burn off a few calories too!!
  1. Eat a small handful of plain nuts daily (not salted or dry roasted) providing you are not allergic/sensitive to nuts!! – Nuts are packed with phytonutrients which can help to reduce cholesterol, increase heart health and contain healthy fats.
  1. Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks – Reduce the load on your liver and pancreas (particularly if you are diabetic) and limit your intake if you have a tendency for depression.
  1. Introduce a meat free day – Particularly avoid processed meats eg ham, bacon, sausages as they are classified by the World Health Organisation as a Class I carcinogenic (cancer causing) and introduce beans, peas, pulses to obtain the variety of plant nutrients that are known to be beneficial to the body.
  1. Go for ‘treat/taster sized’ dessert portions – this gives you the taste without the massive portions that grandma always wants to give! Smaller portions results in less calories and less sugar (reducing the effect of sugar spikes/crashes that you can suffer from later in the day)
  1. Dance! – Get the family together for a dance/floss off – this will get the heart pumping and the laughter going and release endorphins (feel good hormones) – even a little exercise is good, so up you get grandpa!!
  1. Don’t forget to eat your greens – Particularly if you have high blood pressure, consuming greens such as rocket, coriander and spring greens have all been shown to help artery flexibility and contribute to reducing blood pressure.
  1. Swap pudding for fruit – Although this may sound boring at first many people eat a pudding because they want the sweet taste rather than the fact that they are still hungry.  Switching to fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and grapes, etc can satisfy the sweet tooth, give you beneficial antioxidants and vitamins and reduce the calories – what’s not to like?!
  1. Limit sweets/chocolate – I know, another kill joy, and there is something traditional about having chocolate for breakfast on Christmas day but if you want to avoid those kid’s tantrums/sibling fights before dinner letting them consume a whole selection box before 7am is probably not the best idea! Try to space out the sugar consumption and if you’re feeling brave alternate with healthy snacks to help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent those sugar crashes – good luck!!
  1. Reduced time watching tv – Often people sit in front of the TV after a large meal and stay there all afternoon and evening. Spending too long sitting and staring at a screen can be harmful.  Make sure you move about (not just to the kitchen to restock the snack bowl!) or better yet – turn the TV off, put some music on and pick up a book or get the board games out and have some fun.
  1. Don’t forget to use the turkey carcass – Boiling up the turkey carcass and making a healthy broth with left over veggies and adding lentils, turmeric, garlic and herbs will not only reduce waste but will also provide you with a tasty, healthy and nutritious broth to get you through those days where you may be nursing the after effects of too much partying!!

All in all, have a great holiday season but be mindful of looking after yourself so that you can enjoy it.  Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.