We all want to let our hair down over the festive season, and that is as it should be, but you can still keep a watchful eye on your health without being a party pooper – your waistline and your liver will thank you in the long run. Take a look at some festive tips from Tonic’s favourite nutritionist, ‘thefoodfixer’, Caroline Skirrow, on how to keep a bit of balance – without spoiling the fun:
- Avoid arriving at parties or restaurants starving hungry as you will eat and drink more. Think about a healthy snack earlier to help you pace yourself
- Drink a large glass of water before starting on the alcohol to avoid drinking for thirst and consider alternate alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks to keep your intake down.
- DON’T supersize your wine, have a regular rather than large glass and think about lower calorie drinks such as vodka and Slimline tonic or white wine spritzer.
- DO supersize your veggie portions and start your meals with them to take the edge off your hunger. That way you will tend to eat fewer of the carbs and fatty stuff that’s going to end up on your waistline!
- Use smaller crockery – studies have shown that we can eat up to 57% more when eating off larger plates, ouch!
- Avoid buying a wide range of sweets, cakes and savoury snacks as research shows that the greater the variety we have to hand the more of them we tend to munch on.
- Keep festive treats in a designated place that you don’t need to go into every day so you are not tempted to scoff them in advance of the main event.
- Have some healthy items to hand so you can snack on some less indulgent nibbles e.g. fresh fruit, low fat hummus and tzatziki, salads, oatcakes.
- Snack on some nuts rather than too many crisps, sweets or chocolates. Nuts are packed with good fats, vitamins and minerals, are filling and won’t play havoc with your blood sugar.
- Try going for a walk after a big lunchtime meal rather than collapsing in front of the telly.
- Offset what you will be doing at parties and on festive days by trying to be a bit healthier on the days before and after.
- And if all else fails my hangover tips are; a pint of water BEFORE bed, preferably with a sports electrolyte to help the dehydration (and a dash of milk thistle); have a high protein, high fruit and veg breakfast (e.g. lean bacon, eggs, grilled tomatoes, steamed mushroom with fresh juice) to help your liver deal with the toxins. Top up Alka Seltzer (for acid stomach) and aspirin as necessary!
Lastly, in the New Year don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are making a New Year’s resolution opt for a gradual approach, that way the changes will be easier and more likely to stick. Your resolution should be realistic, measurable and achievable, for example:
- Cut alcohol intake on one day a week
- Increase exercise by one session per week
- Eat one more portion of veggies 3 days a week
- Have one extra glass of water per day
WHATEVER YOU DO HAVE A GREAT FESTIVE SEASON, WARM WISHES
Caroline Skirrow BSc NT, BANT, CNHC
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Central & N London