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Enjoy Christmas season but stay healthy

Christmas

Christmas is coming, and besides Christmas decorations and the socializing with family and friends, there are also the candies and Christmas dishes. It’s the same as saying: the kilocalories, the sugar and the fat is coming, but…don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that way.

This year can be different, just follow the advices that we’ll give you here, so you can enjoy this period of celebration and still stay healthy.

Here I’ll give you some tips for the days prior to Christmas, for Christmas day and for the following days, so you can have a healthy Christmas!

The days before Christmas

before christmas

In the days prior to Christmas, social life increases. There are dinners with friends, with co-workers, with gym colleagues, people start preparing and trying recipes, so there can be many temptations.

It’s fundamental for you to stay focused during this phase.

Check out some tips that can help you.

Practice physical activity regularly

Maintaining regular physical activity, will help you to maintain adequate serotonin levels, thereby helping to control the appetite, to avoid excesses, especially important to help to avoid the candies that are a temptation, and that begin to appear at this time.

But why is it important to maintain adequate serotonin levels?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences our body on various levels. It’s known to help to regulate the mood, but it also influences the appetite (a decrease in serotonin levels can lead to an increase in appetite).

Include enough vegetables and fruits in your daily routine

They are great suppliers of vitamins, minerals, water and especially fiber.

Fiber (especially soluble fibers, such as oats) will help to reduce the absorption of the fats and sugars that you may consume during this period.

Fiber will also make you feel satiated for longer, something that is great to regulate the appetite.

Discover some tips on how to control your appetite in this article.

Research some healthy recipes

Opt for desserts rich in fruits, nuts and whole flours for the Christmas season. The more natural foods (with low or zero content of sugars and hydrogenated fats), the healthier the meal.

Calculate the right amount to prepare of each recipe to avoid surpluses

Follow the recipes and replace some ingredients, for example.

For example: using stevia instead of sugar can be a good start.

Avoid excessive consumption of sweets and eat them only on special occasions

During Christmas, foods that can compromise your diet are more easily available. You shouldn’t constantly deprive yourself, and therefore try to resist in the period prior to Christmas, just so you can make an exception on Christmas Day.

Control yourself on Christmas dinners of work or with friends

For those Christmas dinners of work or with friends, my tip is: try to organize your plate as following:

  • ½ of the plate for various vegetables (sautéed, cooked or salad)
  • ¼ of the plate for carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta or rice)
  • ¼ of the plate for protein (fish, meat, eggs or vegetarian option)
  • 1 dessert, preferably with fruit (you can always skip this step)

By making this division, even if the menu is meat roll with chips, for example, you’re limiting the quantity, but you won’t give up anything.

More conscious choices lead to better results.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

 

during christmas

Bet on the traditional

The cod dish with sprouts and potatoes, quite common in countries like Portugal, or roasted turkey, accompanied by sautéed cabbage or vegetables, are some options.

You can find an alternative turkey recipe here.

Fractionate and don’t skip meals

It’s important to maintain a meal routine.

Don’t skip meals like breakfast. It’s essential that you continue to eat a good breakfast – skipping this meal, thinking that lunch will be enough, will result in eating more calories at lunch (the same thing happens with the dinner if you don’t make a snack before it).

Avoid constantly snacking on everything that’s on the table

Eat only at meals.

One of the main mistakes is snacking during the day, and at various meals. Don’t do it, because without realizing it, you’ll usually end up consuming an amount of calories superior to what you would have consumed with a controlled and timed meal.

Enjoy typical foods

There are typical foods of this time of year that are quite healthy.

For example, in countries like Portugal, nuts are an example of such foods. Consume them, because this will be a way to keep you in the Christmas spirit and, at the same time, to stay healthy.

For example, eat nuts in between lunch and dinner, because they are great sources of fat (omega-6) and fiber, helping to satiate quite a bit.

Moderate the consumption of sweets

If you have several different desserts at your disposal, choose only the 2 that you really don’t want to miss out on. Moderating the consumption of sugar will help to control the appetite, and to decrease your caloric intake.

Get out for a walk

Spend time with your family after lunch and go out for a walk.

By going outside, you’ll be moving, so you will have a greater energy expenditure, and it will facilitate the digestive process. And, this way, you won’t be bombed with the visual stimulus of food – if you don’t see it, you won’t eat it.

Drink a lot of water

It’s the best way to hydrate ourselves, but at times of celebration there’s a tendency to ignore it and to replace it with alcohol and juice.

The days after Christmas

after christmas

There are some simple things you can do right after Christmas to avoid excesses during this period and to be able to get back to your routine faster.

  • Don’t let yourself be carried away by the leftovers, but share them with the whole family or donate them to someone in need.
  • Get back to your food routine, including plenty of vegetables.
  • Drink 2 to 3 liters of water. Drinking plenty of water will help the body to detoxify excesses.
  • Practice physical exercise more often, betting on intense exercises that promote fat burning and expenditure of energy reserves.

Why not do a HIIT training? Find out more about it here.

Enjoy this period by following the principles of a healthy and balanced diet, don’t deprive yourself constantly, but control yourself.

Christmas is a celebration, but don’t focus only on food…there’s much more to enjoy, such as socializing, family time, friends, decorations, the comfort of home.

These are just a few tips that can help you to avoid some excesses, to stay healthy, but, at the same time, to enjoy the Christmas season.

What are your tricks? Share them in the comments!

Comments

The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Liliana Silvestre

Liliana Silvestre
Liliana Silvestre is a nutritionist with a degree in dietetics from ESSLEI. She has professional experience in various fields of nutrition, and she has a passion for healthy cooking. Her goal is to help as many people as possible to transform their lifestyles adopting more healthy habits.

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