How to stay healthy over the holidays.
It’s so easy to indulge over the festive period and why not? It’s such a fun time of year and there’s so much going on – parties, concerts, lunches, dinners, brunch – it’s non-stop, with many smiling faces offering glasses of champagne, mince pies, cookies and so much more!
So how do you enjoy it all without waking up on January 1st feeling regretful and not fitting into your favourite jeans? Here are a few things that have helped me this year. Unsurprisingly, many of my tips focus on ‘pre-game’ nutrition.
1. Prioritise eating good, satiating meals.
Make sure you have a good breakfast when you have an event at lunchtime in the afternoon and prioritise breakfast and lunch when you have evening plans. Eat a good breakfast and lunch full of good fats like avocado, olive oil, oily fish and lots of protein – animal or plant based (just make sure it’s complete plant protein like quinoa, buckwheat or amaranth).
2. Alternate drinks (and actually do it!).
I like to alternate alcohol with water to make sure I don’t get too drunk and can enjoy the party for longer. I choose sparkling water with a lemon slice to feel more festive.
3. Eat before you go out.
This requires a bit of planning if you’re going to an event after work, but it is possible. If you’re full of good, nourishing food, you’re less likely to drink to excess and less likely to grab food from the canapé buffet. Bonus: you’ll probably be less hungover the next day.
4. Plan your indulgences so you don’t feel deprived.
If your thing is mince pies or Christmas pudding or gingerbread men, find the best possible version and indulge a few times over the holiday period. Then you know you’re not missing out and you’ve had the best possible version. My husband reckons the best mince pies in London are from Gail’s and makes a point to get a few (and only a few!) of them every year.
5. Have a few dry days per week, with no alcohol and early to bed.
If you don’t have something on every day (if you do, well hello social butterfly!), then stick to water and herbal teas on your free days, to give your body a break and help your liver to detoxify after all of the boozing and sugary cakes and cookies.
6. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables to help liver detoxification.
In less than two weeks, we’ll start to hear a lot of people talking about a ‘New Year’s detox’. The truth is that your body is constantly detoxing through the liver. It’s the body’s waste purification plant. Everyday we can eat and drink things that support this detoxification process, without resorting to a full on ‘detox’. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, arugula / rocket, watercress, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are all high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E and B vitamins that support the processes the liver uses to detoxify alcohol, sugars, fats, heavy metals and toxins. Green smoothies and juices are the easiest ways to get the goodness in when you can’t face a salad.