Christmas is coming which means catching up with family, festive drinking and of course, bottomless piles of Christmas food are right around the corner, because calories don’t count over Christmas right?
Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple and to maintain our well-being over the festive season, we may need to adjust our usual holiday routines to make way for a healthier and more active Christmas.
We know, it’s easier said than done so we have gone ahead and collected some helpful advice from Nutritionist and health expert Valentina Duong to create an easy to follow list of health and fitness guidelines for the 2020 festive season.
Go easy on the alcohol
Obviously, with the rest of the family sinking cold beers and cocktails in the sun, it’s awfully difficult not to succumb to peer pressure and the allure of a refreshing beverage on a hot summer’s day. So, go ahead and have that beer, but try and limit yourself to one or two drinks in a day! Doing this everyday however, isn’t great for your body given alcohol is high in calories and can result in alcohol-induced illness later in life, especially if consumed in large doses.
“I think it’s important to understand that alcohol has an impact on our decision-making, mood and appetite… If you’re drinking solely out of social pressure, you may consider limiting your alcohol consumption and having non-alcoholic drinks instead. If drinking is something you really enjoy and value, I think it’s okay to have a few drinks with your family and friends.
“I focus on knowing my upper limit for alcohol (how many drinks do you really want to have for the night?) and focus on having alcohol-free days leading up and after a big night out. The Australian dietary guidelines recommends a maximum of 10 drinks per week to reduce the risk of alcohol-related disease or injury and a maximum of four standard drinks in one night.”
– Valentina Duong
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
One of the best things about Christmas is the endless mounds of mouth-watering Christmas food that is no-doubt, high in carbs and calories. Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to give up all of the traditional Christmas goodies, although Valentina does suggest replacing some of them with a healthier rendition of some of your festive favourites.
“It’s perfectly okay to enjoy the creamy potato salad or Christmas cookies if that’s what you really want. Letting yourself enjoy the holiday season without putting too much pressure on yourself to eat healthy 100 percent of the time is also an important part of health and well-being. If you’re looking for healthier choices, search for lean-protein sources that are grilled, BBQ’d, steamed or sautéed, over fried. For example, BBQ prawns, steamed fish, baked turkey and chicken, are lower in saturated fat than processed meats (ham, bacon, sausages).”
– Valentina Duong
Christmas recipes can be a little daunting and overcomplicated, so if you’re looking to replace some of your usual Christmas food with a quick, easy and healthy alternative, Hello Fresh have gone ahead and taken the stress out of Christmas day cooking by providing a ready to go Christmas box full of healthy renditions of your favourite dishes like turkey and chicken, along with a handful of fresh sides including Pear and Pecan Green Salad and Sautéed Asparagus & Sugar Snap Peas starting from $199.99 for 4-6 people.
Make time for exercise
December is understandably, a very busy time of the year for many of us, with family visiting, Christmas parties scheduled and of course, Christmas shopping on the calendar! Nevertheless, we still need to make time to exercise and stay active; unfortunately, some of us are still restricted by where and how we can exercise, however, there are still plenty of easy ways to stay active without having to hit the gym or miss out on family fun.
“I recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, whether that be a planned workout or strolling through Target to get everything on the Christmas list… My suggestions would be grabbing a coffee with a friend and going for a walk, bike riding to work, going for a jog while getting pulled along by my four dogs and my personal favourite when I don’t have time to head to the gym, would be using my own bodyweight to do some pushups and burpees.” – Valentina Duong
Get enough sleep
Planning activities, catching up with family and prepping the perfect Christmas feast will almost definitely have you waking up early and heading to bed late, but it’s very important that we aim to get the appropriate amount of sleep regardless of who’s in town! Not only will skipping sleep have a negative impact on your physical well-being, but it will also have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being too. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, at night, your body works overtime to prepare itself for whatever the next day has in store, so sacrificing sleep could have a definite impact on your reaction time, thinking, mood and patience, which we all know is crucial for dealing with difficult family members over one of the most stressful times of the year!
“Sleep is so important for our bodies and brain, so I would aim for at least 6-8 hours a night. Everybody is different, but young adults, individuals recovering from illness, injury or strenuous exercise may need more sleep.” – Valentina Duong
Make sure you stay hydrated
Aussie summers are absolute scorchers, which means becoming dehydrated is far too easy, so we need to be staying on top of our water consumption! According to Health Direct, Men should be drinking 10 glasses of water a day, while women should be drinking approximately eight glasses and nine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Drinking water is vital for the healthy digestion of food and absorption of nutrients and given that over Christmas, we will undoubtedly be treating ourselves to plenty of delicious food and alcohol, our bodies will be in dire need of adequate hydration.
We know it’s not easy trying to stay healthy over the silly season with temptations around every corner, but staying healthy doesn’t mean sacrificing the things we love – especially after the long hard year we’ve all had! We simply need to make sure we are consuming all of our favourite Christmas goodies in moderation and dedicate at least 30 minutes of our day to some light, nonstrenuous exercise every day. Hopefully this short list of tips and tricks acts as a helpful guide to help you stay, happy, healthy and on your game this Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Keep on track with meal delivery kits
If you’re hopping from one party to the next throughout December and January, you might forgo your usual grocery shop. This means when you’re home and hunger strikes, it’s much easier to reach for your phone and order UberEats. However, if you plan ahead and order a weekly meal delivery kit, you won’t even have to think about shopping because everything you need will be delivered right to your doorstep. Or, if you can’t be bothered cooking, there’s always the option of ordering some healthy ready-made meals to keep in your fridge.