Nights out, plenty of food and drink and lots of relaxation are all part of the perfect festive break. However, if you’re hoping for a healthy wedding or if your winter wedding is booked for the New Year, you really need to make sure the Christmas holidays don’t undo all your good work. We spoke to wellness expert Jeannie Di Bon to find out just how you can stay healthy over Christmas.
Healthy Christmas Parties
We all love to socialise at Christmas and over-indulgence can be all too easy. Jeannie says that if you want to stay healthy, you need to get prepared before the party starts:
“If you have time to do some exercise during the day, even for just thirty minutes, your metabolism will speed up, meaning that any food you do eat at the party will be digested faster as your body works to restore energy in your muscles. If you are going for a sit-down meal, look at the menu beforehand so you can make sure there is a healthy option available. If not, or if you know you are partial to picking on party nibbles, perhaps eat a small and flavoursome meal before you go to avoid the temptation.
Make sure there are some healthy snacks in the fridge, so that if you get peckish during the night you know you have something healthy to eat when you get in.”
Of course, when you get to the party, there’s temptation everywhere but drinks and nibbles needn’t make you panic as Jeannie explains:
“The problem with nibbles is that you never think you've had much to eat because every bite is small, but you could easily end up over-eating throughout the course of an evening. Try and eat foods that have some nutritional value or a strong flavour so that you feel satisfied; smoked salmon canapes for example, or a bruschetta topped with some fresh salsa. If there are dips such as hummus available, try and eat with crudites rather than bread or crackers.”
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“Drinks-wise - if you're not prepared to swerve alcohol all together, then gin and slimline tonic or vodka, soda and a squeeze of fresh lime make for low calorie but tasty alternatives to sugary cocktails and wines. Having said that, red wine in moderation has been known to improve heart health and cholesterol, so treating yourself to a small glass won't hurt.”
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For post-party recovery, Jeannie recommends boosting your immune system with exercise and increasing your vitamin C intake with lots of fruit and veg. It’s also super important to let your body rest on the nights you’re not socialising for early nights and proper sleep will help you stay healthy.
Healthy Christmas Feasts
Another huge part of Christmas has to be Christmas lunch and all the yummy foods that come with the feast. We’ve all heard to stories highlighting just how many calories are in the average Christmas lunch but don’t worry, there are healthier options that still taste great:
“Turkey is actually the leanest white meat available, so is a great option for your Christmas dinner. If you want to keep it clean, avoid the high-carb elements such as roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, and processed foods such as stuffing and pigs in blankets (tough, I know!). Fill up on vegetables and lean meats, and perhaps pick just one of the elements above to indulge in. It is Christmas, after all!”
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“After a big Christmas dinner, it is often tempting to continue with the treats, perhaps enjoying some chocolates, nuts, or cheese later on in the day. The best thing you can do is wait until you feel genuinely hungry before eating again. If you don't you'll just feel greedy and full at the end of the day. Drink lots of water, and try and get out for a short walk after dinner, whether your family want to join you or not! It will kick your metabolism into gear and will make you feel refreshed and re-energised, rather than lazy and overly full.”
Top Tips For Staying Healthy This Christmas
One of the most important things to do during the festive break is to keep exercising. We don’t mean you need to go for an early morning run every day but there are still fun things you can do that will make you feel good:
“There are so many fun activities that are made even better in the winter time. Wrapping up warm and going for a nice long walk through the woods or around a local park as regularly as possible is one, and the cold fresh air and exercise are great for your physical and mental health. I would also recommend walking to destinations rather than driving or getting public transport. It will make you feel a lot better when Christmas Day comes around! Also, why not try some indoor sports with family and friends such as squash, badminton, swimming or even ice skating if you feel particularly festive. These activities are a lot of fun to do in groups, and you'll all feel refreshed afterwards.”
Image Courtesy of Reader’s Digest
So, if you’re looking forward to a winter wedding and want to keep your healthy wedding plans on track, here are Jeannie’s top tips:
1) Pick your moments. If you know you're going to have a packed social calendar, pick the events where you want to indulge, and at the others take care over what you eat and drink so that you are indulging in moderation.
2) Take care of yourself on days off. That means exercising, sleeping properly, eating properly, and staying off the alcohol. You will be able to afford to relax more and enjoy indulging on Christmas Day if you know you have been taking care of yourself in the lead up.
3) Prepare. Think about what you're going to eat and when, so that you don't end up ravenous at a party and snacking on all the canapes. Forward planning is essential so that you can cook yourself something healthy and filling beforehand if need be, and avoid the temptation.
4) Be rational about food. Christmas is often seen as an excuse to over-eat, and temptation is all around. But try and be strong and keep up your usual good habits as often as possible. It is a time for fun and celebration, but if you can remain in control of your diet you will be glad of it when the New Year rolls around, as you won't be struggling to get yourself back on track.
So, now you’re all ready for Christmas, why not look ahead to your big day? Find out how to relax on your wedding day and make sure you’re the most chilled-out bride around.