Even though the coming weeks will almost inevitably feature late nights and indulgences, there are ways not to be totally unhealthy during the festive season. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but sometimes all we need is a little reminder and some fresh ideas …
1. KEEP EXERCISING
We all know the importance of exercise, but this doesn’t mean you have to stick to your usual gym regime or else! Make exercise fun, and something for the whole family. Go for a hike (pack a healthy picnic), go for long beach walks with your partner, organise a day of water sports, or go out dancing. Just make sure you keep active, and don’t spend your holiday on the couch! This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids healthy, active ways to have fun.
2. DRINK AROUND TWO LITRES OF WATER A DAY
This is so important at this time of year – not only is the weather hot, especially if you’re spending the holiday at the beach, but drinking water helps your body to detoxify. So don’t let this fall by the wayside during the festive season!
3. LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER
If you drink alcohol, watch out for overdoing it. Celebration after celebration can easily add up to a high consumption of alcohol. Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink and try to stick to one or two units. Always choose quality over quantity! Take measures to protect your liver during this period by taking a milk thistle and B-vitamin combination.
4. MEET YOUR DAILY REQUIREMENT FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Make sure that you eat enough fruits and vegetables. Fill up on a plate of salad or lightly steamed vegetables before your main Christmas dinner (or any other celebratory meal). This way you can still have a taste of the nice things but you won’t be able to overdo it as the fibre, water and nutrients in the salad are very filling and satisfying! Have a fruit salad for breakfast (with some nuts and seeds) to help balance out other heavier meals.
5. SNACK ON SUPERFOODS
Keeping healthy snacks on hand will help you to avoid unhealthy temptations. Try goji berries, cacao nibs or beans, nuts and seeds. These can be mixed together to make delicious snack packs for when you’re on the run. Goji berries and raw cacao are jam-packed with goodness and are very satisfying. Cacao can be a great substitute for less healthy chocolates, and goji berries are fantastic at stabilising blood sugar.
6. WHEN IT’S YOUR TURN TO DO THE CATERING …
Include a beautiful green salad filled with lots of dark green leaves such as rocket, watercress and spinach; to that add sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, avocados, pine nuts and so on. Steam veggies lightly rather than cooking them to death in lots of oil.
Create a berry-based dessert. Berries are summer fruits, they are low in calories, and they are filled with antioxidants (and they are delicious).
Be adventurous and surprise your guests with a gourmet raw food dish.
7. REMEMBER TO RELAX
Even though the festive season is all about fun fun fun, things often become frantically busy. Remember to take time for yourself too. Try saying ‘no’ sometimes – you don’t have to go to every function that you’re invited to (and neither do your partner or children). Take time out for peaceful walks and a relaxing bath. Go on a date with your partner, go to the park with your kids, and most importantly take time to just be with yourself.
8. PLAN AHEAD
A little forethought goes a long way. Planning to be healthy is half the battle; always have healthy snacks on hand so if you’re caught starving and with nothing healthy in sight you will have an alternative. Take an antioxidant complex to help protect against free radical damage (especially if you’re spending a lot of time in the sun), and take your usual supplement regime (don’t forget to pack them if you’re going away).
Be present in the moment … don’t let your holiday fly by without you. Enjoy every second and take time to love, laugh and smell the flowers!