Christmas is a time of celebration and sharing with your loved ones. But with all of the festivities, it can be difficult to eat healthy at Christmas.
Because of this, it is not uncommon for many people to be afraid of sabotaging their diet and exercise routines and ruining the progress they have made in their health.
To help you, we have prepared these tips for healthy eating at Christmas. You will see that it’s easier than you thought.
Eat something healthy before leaving
Are you going to a dinner with your co-workers knowing that the menu will be loaded with calories? Usually the menu includes more carbohydrates than vegetables and over the days it becomes more and more difficult to include them.
To make sure you eat healthy at Christmas, prepare a light salad that includes green leaves and a protein or a rich fibre shake.
You can eat a normal portion about two hours before your dinner: this way you will feel full with less food.
Keep your regular schedules
A common mistake during Christmas is to change our normal meal times.
If you wait several hours or eat earlier than usual, you’ll be tempted to serve yourself larger portions and it will be difficult for you to eat healthy.
Also, when your usual eating time comes, you may be tempted to do it again.
When you have to go somewhere where there will be food, follow our previous advice and prepare a light salad.
Eat normal foods
Eating healthy at Christmas is vital if you live with diabetes, hypertension or any other condition. Not only can your weight be affected, but also your blood glucose or blood pressure levels.
In this case you should make sure to always choose the foods most similar to those of your usual diet.
If you don’t have the option to eat healthy because all the food consists of fried or very sweet products, reduce your portion size.
If there is steamed food or vegetables, choose them before fried foods or ones containing a lot of fruits.
Choose the “real food” first
When you attend an event or Christmas dinner you will find snacks that provide no nutrients. Before filling the plate with them, look for healthy eating options.
Serve some protein and vegetables and try to avoid pasta and flour. This way you can then give yourself permission to eat some desserts that will provide enough carbohydrates.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated
Drinking water helps you avoid cravings and eat excessively. When you feel the craving to eat that second bowl of apple salad, drink a glass of water.
That way you can avoid that second portion of salad or eat less.
Eating healthy at Christmas does not imply that you must necessarily only choose vegetables and steamed foods. You should also learn to avoid cravings.
Change traditional recipes for more nutritious ones
Have you already thought about your menu for Christmas? It’s very likely that you’ve already started planning your dinner. In doing so you may have noticed that the menu is not exactly synonymous with healthy eating.
Create variations of traditional recipes to make them healthier with your favourite ingredients.
You can also substitute traditional sugar which contains a lot of calories for more natural options such as:
You can also try to change some ingredients in your recipes or, simply, choose a healthier alternative.
Keep an eye on how much you drink
Alcohol and mixed drinks are present on every Christmas menu. Both options are full of calories, carbohydrates and lots of sugars, so they can sabotage your healthy eating.
Avoid these drinks as much as you can. If you can’t avoid drinking alcohol, choose it mixed only with water, still or sparkling.
This way you’ll reduce the effect on your body and your consumption will be more balanced, since you stay hydrated.
Among mixed beverages, choose the ones that use a fewer number of ingredients. The first ones that you should avoid are ones containing juice, natural or boxed, since the sugar they contain is too much.
Also, try to avoid syrups because, after juices, they’re the ones that contribute more sugar and do not help you in eating healthily.
Follow the 80/20 rule
A strategy that never fails when trying to eat healthy at Christmas, or at any other time, is the 80/20 rule.
This says that 80% of everything you eat and drink is healthy, leaving room for the remaining 20% for your cravings.
This rule is very easy to follow and will make the holiday season more bearable, because you will know that you are allowed to eat what you want.
However, keep in mind that if you live with a condition that requires a stricter diet, such as diabetes, this strategy is not recommended.
Keep your daily routine
During Christmas and the holidays, keeping your daily routine is complicated.
However, eating healthy will be easier if you follow your daily behaviour patterns. Don’t forget to create a food plan as always and follow your usual exercise routine.
Following these tips to eat healthily you’ll see that you’ll start 2019 in good health.