It’s the most wonderful time of year! As the temperature drops, decorations go up and presents appear under the tree, is it possible to enjoy the season in a healthy way? Let’s find out.
It’s the most wonderful time of year, or at least, it should be. December can be a tough time for people due to a variety of reasons, one of which is the push and pull relationship between trying to be healthy but also indulge in some festive treats.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can enjoy the festive season with health goals in mind.
Load up on veggies
As a born and bred Norfolk goal, I do love my vegetables! So much so, I’ve even bought a glittery Brussels Sprout bauble this year.
Aside from the usual Christmas turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, a lot of families also include several different vegetable sides in the Christmas meal. This is a perfect opportunity to load up your plate and enjoy the variety, which is great news for your gut. This is because vegetables are full of gut friendly fibre that will combat some of the richer meat and dairy based dishes that are also often present throughout December and into the New Year.
One easy way to make sure that you’re getting enough vegetables is to use the Healthy Eating Plate method, which advocates that 50% of your plate should be vegetable and/or fruit based.
Head outside and stretch your legs
Another great Christmas tradition for me is the Boxing Day walk (if you’re reading this in the US, it’s another holiday on the 26th December in the UK and some Commonwealth countries). For me, a good walk after a day of feasting and opening gifts is a great and invigorating way to spend the next day. Oh, and then enjoy leftovers.
And let’s not forget, walking is SUCH an easy form of exercise if you’re able bodied. It helps improve things like cardiovascular health, bones and even your mood and memory. The list is almost endless!
Don’t forget to bundle up with your cutest scarf and gloves, and some decent boots. You don’t want to get caught in the mud after all.
Give back to those in need
Christmas isn’t an enjoyable time for everyone, especially as we’re living in a cost of living crisis that’s right on the heels of pandemic based Christmastimes (does anyone remember Tier 4 from two years ago?). Additionally, it can be hard to find gifts for some people.
Instead of giving physical presents, see if they’d be happy to have a donation or sponsorship given in their name. Alternatively, charities and local businesses are asking for food bank and even gift donations to make sure that families can enjoy a warm and cosy meal, and experience the joy of watching little ones open a gift on the big day.
As someone who’s done this before, I can attest that I had a great time finding and wrapping a present for a little girl in need. I have no idea who she was, but I hope that she enjoyed her bumper Crayola craft set.
Cut yourself some slack
If there’s any time of year where you’re likely to overindulge on a buffet or at the work party, it’s now. And you know what? That’s okay!
Believe me when I say that I’ve been there and I’ve done that. Yes, being hungover with glitter stuck on my face in a client meeting wasn’t fun, but as I’ve entered my thirties I’ve learned to try and cut myself some slack. We all have individual health goals and possibly even health regimes, but it’s okay to miss a day at the gym or enjoy an extra glass of wine or slice of cake.
Toxic diet culture is all around, even at Christmas. It can be hard to recognise it if you haven’t been aware of it before, but if you know the signs of it i.e. labelling certain foods as ‘good and bad’ or ‘clean and unclean’ or cutting out entire food groups when you don’t medically need to, then you’re one step closer to finding some freedom.
Do you want some more tips?
Well then, you’re definitely in the right place! Here’s my ultimate Winter Wellness Guide
These are good health tips during the cold season. Give back to those in need is the best. Winter is also a good season to practice kindness.
Really useful reminders for this season (and beyond); just what I needed to read!