Yes, Christmas this year will be very different from the usual, but that does not mean we should indulge in food more than other years. If you are staying home and intend to go from one meal to another and from the kitchen table to the dining table, I think it is time to reconsider and see how you will make Christmas day healthier, more nutritious, and more…active. So, shall we see what my tips are in order to have a good time and -at the same time- eat a little healthier and more balanced meals?
Tip 1: It’s not just the dinner that has to be festive.
What do I mean by that? This Christmas, make a festive breakfast or brunch, which can of course be a little healthier. Add fruits such as pomegranate and tangerine, dried cranberries, plums, and figs. Make your porridge colorful, add avocado, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms to your omelet, make a colorful smoothie, put fruit even in your water! You will certainly not be able to have for breakfast-brunch what you would have for dinner, but you can for sure choose a filling and tasty meal such as omelets or oat pancakes. Try to make your meals complete and consume foods that will fill you up and provide you with nutrients. By eating balanced during the day, you will see that in the evening you will consume less food than you used to in the previous years and it will help you not to overdo it.
Tip 2: Make sure you always drink water while consuming alcohol!
The most important thing is definitely not to consume a lot of alcohol. But since on that day it is somehow justified (when of course you are not driving), make sure to always accompany it with water. If you put fruit in your water or a little mint - as I mentioned above - then I am sure that you will be able to consume even more water, and that you will like this alternative to the point that it will become a habit.
Tip 3: Add healthy Christmas foods to your meals!
As I often say, we want to have a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet, so to consume the entire… rainbow throughout the week. We should eat fruits and vegetables of all colors and have variety. Christmas dishes can now be made a little healthier and more nutritious in a very simple way. By using seasonal fruits and vegetables in your recipes, such as Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, tangerines, and pomegranate; that way, you will strengthen your immune system and you will feel full for longer with fewer calories. Do you know how many original recipes you can make with them? Just take a look at some of the ideas I have for you…
Moreover, you should use nuts and chestnuts, lean proteins such as turkey and chicken, or -of course- fish, which is high in "good" polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Tip 4: Limit the sweet treats and snacks you buy.
The most important rule of all… If you have chocolate or cheese puffs in your cupboard, it will be very difficult for you to resist. No matter how much restraint you have, you cannot stop yourselves from rushing to one of these two options when you are craving something sweet or savory. Believe me, if you start reading the labels on the products you buy in detail, you will be able to resist the not so healthy snacks more easily and this will help you to not have them in the cupboard of your kitchen, and therefore to not consume them on Christmas day. What do you think? Does it sound difficult?
Tip 5: Never forget physical activity.
I know we’ve said it countless times, but it is even more important during this period of time. Make your health a priority and find even a little time to devote to some kind of physical activity, even on Christmas day. Walking, cleaning the house, or cooking are very good alternatives. Take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones and take a walk together. Enjoy the sun or bright weather and add even half an hour of physical activity to this wonderful day. Believe me, you will both recharge your batteries and boost your metabolism a little more.
Tip 6: Simply enjoy your day!
Christmas and New Year’s Day are just 2 days a year, you can make an exception. A healthy lifestyle is a lifestyle that naturally lasts. If all the other days of the year you try to cook and eat in a balanced way while -of course- exercising, then eating a little more these 2, 3, or even 10 days of the year will not take you out of your program and will not “ruin” your body or your health. Of course, all of the above can be part of a balanced diet and lifestyle and all you have to do is follow them!
I don’t want you to be affected by the fact that we will be sort of…isolated this year. Make sure you have a nice time - even indoors - and have a wonderful, enjoyable, nutritious, and delicious Christmas!
This article was written in collaboration with the Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
* The website akispetretzikis.com offers as a service a variety of blogs and articles, based on scientific sources. All the articles are provided as general information and no text should be used as a substitute for advice from a physician or another health scientist, regardless of the date it has been published.