This article is intended for customers from all countries other than Germany*
For people who love to eat, Christmas can be one of the most exciting times of the year. There are so many yummy foods to taste. However, because treats are fun to consume, it can become very easy to overindulge during the holiday season. Between work Christmas parties, celebrations with friends and festivities with your family, you can definitely allow your appetite to go unrestricted. That means you could be feasting before Christmas, in the days after with leftovers, and then finally all through New Year’s. So, what can you do to stay healthy at Christmas? Read on for ideas on how to treat yourself while still making your Christmas lunch healthier.
Why it’s so easy to get in an unhealthy rut
Your body can be really sensitive when it comes to what you’re feeding it. There’s a definite link between your microbiome and cravings you have for certain foods. Once your biome is accustomed to a specific kind of diet, it’ll then make you prefer those types of foods. Your body is actually sending out signals that make you crave what you’re used to eating. That means that overeating fatty or sugary foods during Christmas time can end up creating cravings in the future for those unhealthy options. Because cravings can be so hard to ignore, you might find it’s even harder to break these eating patterns once the new year hits. The best thing you can do is continue to fill your diet with healthy, nutritious options so that your biome craves those foods over unhealthy ones.
How to make Christmas lunch healthier
If you’ve been asking yourself, ‘How can I have a healthy Christmas?’, there are many ways you can stick to a healthy diet even when you’re surrounded by sweets and treats. Here are some suggestions for how to stay focused on your overall wellbeing (along with some healthy Christmas lunch ideas!).
1. Fill up on veggie sides.
Eating lots of veggies for your Christmas lunch means you’re less likely to overeat other unhealthy sides. Try to eat nutritious options like dark bitter greens that can help you with digestion. Raw sprout salads are also a great side dish because they can add a bit of roughage to your plate. Plus, veggies with lots of fibre (such as peas, broccoli and brussels sprouts) can make you feel fuller, so you’re not tempted to overeat.
2. Try not to snack throughout the day.
Snacking throughout the day means you’re likely consuming more food than you should be in one day. If you’re going to be having a big Christmas meal, you should save room for those foods. Also, thoughtless snacking means you’re probably eating without really paying attention. It’s very easy to grab a mince pie or a hunk of leftover ham without even thinking about it! If you’re hungry between meals, snack on something nutritious like a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds to tide you over.
3. Make a bone broth.
If you want to start Boxing Day with a healthy meal, make a bone broth from the bird carcass leftover from Christmas. Bone broth is so good for you because it’s rich in vitamins and nutrients (such as calcium and magnesium) and can provide the body with amino acids. Bone marrow is filled with iron and zinc, too. Plus, bone broth is known for helping to reduce inflammation and to heal the gut. Oh, and if you add a few handfuls of kale, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic into your soup, you’ll have a super-nutritious meal option once Christmas is over.
4. Don’t let rich treats cover your whole plate.
The holidays can be a time for eating things that just plain taste good and make you happy. However, because there’s a tendency to cover everything in bacon, duck fat, salt, etc., you can get led down a dangerous path of unhealthy indulgence very easily. One way you can avoid gluttony is to choose one main dish that’s indulgent and then fill the rest of your plate with complementary healthy sides. These can include veggies (like the ones mentioned above), salads, couscous, squash casserole, wild rice, and baked macaroni and cheese.
5. Try to stick to non-alcoholic drinks.
It’s easy to drink too much when the mulled wine and champagne are flowing. But there are several alcohol-free options that can be just as fun to drink. These can include non-alcoholic cocktails, eggnog (without the alcohol, of course), cranberry punch and sparkling spritzers. People tend to overeat when they’ve had a few drinks, so sticking to a non-alcoholic choice can also help you avoid a lot of unwanted calories.
6. Save room for dessert.
If your favourite part of the Christmas meal is the scrumptious dessert, try to stick to healthy, small portions during the meal so that you can indulge in dessert afterward. As long as you consume one dessert (and not three or four), it’s perfectly fine to gobble up that tasty treat.
7. Keep it moving.
If you’re wondering, ‘How can I stay in shape at Christmas?’, make sure you’re not sitting down all day. Remaining sedentary can mean you gain extra weight during the holidays, which makes achieving a healthy weight in the new year that much more difficult. It’s okay if you don’t have time to fit in a proper exercise routine during the busy holidays. Try moving around the house instead of sitting still. Even doing simple chores like cleaning the house or cooking can help keep you active and in shape.
It’s possible for you to stay healthy during the holidays without completely cutting out yummy foods. Follow the tips listed above, and you’ll find you can enjoy yourself while still making your health a priority this Christmas.