It's the moooost won-der-ful timmmmmme of the year ♪
Christmas is a magical time – the scent of Christmas trees in the air; twinkling lights brightening towns and cities; evenings spent by cosy fires; and plenty of festive food to savour.
It can also be a busy time – from planning and parties to picking that perfect present! To help, The Complete Natural have some tips and advice on how to make the most of the festive season.
Controlling Christmas Calories
‘Tis the season for Christmas eats and festive treats, and temptation is peeking around every corner! With so many opportunities to overindulge – from meet-ups with friends, neighbours popping around and work-dos with colleagues, some tips to help prevent piling on the pounds include:
- Try and stick to a regular meal pattern and healthy eating as much as possible, knowing that there will be plenty of occasions to enjoy your festive food favourites.
- While we may buy choccies and treats for that unexpected visit from a relative/neighbour, try and store them out of sight to avoid temptation. (This will also save the embarrassment of presenting a tin-full of empty wrappers to your visitors!).
- Have a filling, nutritious snack before you head out such as fruit, a handful of unsalted nuts, rice/oat cakes with peanut butter or a natural yogurt. This can help prevent overindulgence on the endless calorie-dense options at festive gatherings.
- Try not to hover too near the table of canapés and snacks. Positioning yourself too near those addictive nibbles can lead to mindless eating and countless calories.
- Keep hydrated. With a plethora of alcohol and salty snacks all around, this can add to our thirst levels. We may then confuse being thirsty with being hungry, so ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day (approx. 2 litres per day is recommended).
- Remember that alcohol adds to our calorie intake: a standard glass of wine has approximately 115 calories; a pint of larger 162 calories; a pint of stout 210 calories; and a spirit with a soft drink provides approximately 163 calories.
Enjoying a ‘Dairy’ Merry Christmas
Dairy products are extremely versatile and can be used in cooking or baking and enjoyed as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even better – cooked meals containing milk, yogurt and cheese retain their calcium goodness and can help you meet your recommended daily intake from this food group.
As well as the unbeatable flavour of Irish butter to create sensational stuffing or creamy mash; and Irish cream to accompany mouth-watering mince pies or the perfect plum pudding – including milk, yogurt and cheese during the festive season couldn’t be easier (or tastier!):
- Add a festive kick to your milky morning porridge with some cinnamon spice.
- Spruce up the post-Christmas turkey and cranberry sauce sambos with some Irish brie/grated cheddar.
- Welcome a Christmas dessert alternative with stewed fruit, a touch of cinnamon, served with natural yogurt; or a milky rice pudding with dried apricots and raisins.
- Liven up vegetables with a milk-based sauce; or create a potato gratin accompaniment made with milk and cheese.
- Impress visitors with a delicious Irish cheese board, crackers and grapes.
- Enjoy a milky hot chocolate treat while settling down your favourite Christmas film.
During the Christmas festivities, alcohol consumption often increases as we socialise more with family, friends and work colleagues. Be mindful, however, that the recommended low-risk limits for alcohol consumption are no more than 11 standard drinks a week for women and no more than 17 standard drinks a week for men (one standard drink is equal to a half pint of beer, a single pub measure of spirits or a small glass of wine). If you do drink, this should be spread out throughout the week and it is recommended not to take more than 5 standard drinks in one sitting, and to have at least 2-3 alcohol-free days during the week.
Regular physical activity is equally important during the Christmas season as it is at any other time of the year; in fact, it is a great way to help offset the extra calories we tend to consume over this time. While you may be disciplined enough to stick to your usual gym/exercise routine, the Christmas holidays offer the perfect opportunity to include fun ways of staying active. Why not wrap up and enjoy a catch up with family or friends on a winter’s walk? You could also ensure you give it socks on the dancefloor to your favourite festive tunes at your work party; or appreciate the fresh air before some hectic shopping by getting off the bus a stop or two earlier.
Time Well Spent
Good time management practices can make all the difference to your day. Try to prioritise wisely in the run up to Christmas:
- Make a list of what needs to be done and tick them off once completed.
- Master the art of delegation by assigning tasks to family members to ease the load.
- Plan your Christmas menu in advance.
- Don’t leave your Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve; try and buy what you can in the weeks before to ease the load.
Overspending at Christmas can easily happen during this season of generosity and giving.
Help manage the financial hangover in January by:
- Keeping a record of your spending and sticking to your budget.
- Using your credit card as sparingly as possible.
- Getting creative by making your own cards and gifts (they will be unique if nothing else!).
- Suggesting a Kris Kindle with your family, friends or at work.
- From January next year, try and budget a small amount each week that will add up come Christmas 2019 (For example, saving €5 a week will tally an impressive €250!)