A Nutritionist's Guide To The Festive Season

4th December 2020 / Health

A Nutritionist's Guide To The Festive Season

Jessica S

Although things are a little different this year, it's still important to connect with friends, family and work colleagues. Whilst most celebrations will be over zoom this year - we can't wait to embrace all of the (virtual) Christmas parties! 


To make sure you feel your best throughout the festive season, despite plenty of overindulgence, we called upon nutritionist Jessica S to share her festive food saviours to ensure you're always firing on all cylinders! 


Go crazy for coconut! 

Try low sugar coconut water! For most of us having a few too many drinks over festive period is inevitable, but dehydration is a major part of the hangover the next day! My top tip is not just to hydrate with water but also replace the electrolytes you've lost. Coconut water one of the best natural sources of potassium, but choose a low sugar option as many have sneaky sugars added. Try having a large glass before bed and another in the morning! 


Set yourself a challenge!

Challenge yourself and your family to 30 different plant foods a week and 8 portions a day. These are thought to be the magic numbers for health no matter your dietary preference! Plant foods are nutrient dense but calorie light so they fill you up without making you feel heavy or lethargic, and nourish you from top to toe. Good nutrition is about putting good stuff in, not taking things out!


Soups at the ready!

During the festive period we tend to focus on the big feasting meals, and the in between stuff gets left behind, often made up of leftovers, cold meat, cheese and bread. Soups are the best way to add lots of nutrition to leftovers, by adding lots of veggies, pulses and beans. Think pea and ham or spiced turkey and lentil! Simply add your leftovers to stock and then add in your extras and you’ll have a hug in a bowl, healthy, nutritious and satisfying within 10 to 20 minutes


Try a new showstopper! 

Seafood, fish or vegetarian festive centre pieces can be delicious too! Statistics show that we are gradually listening to what our bodies and the planet needs in terms of eating less meat. However the festive period can easily become a meat fest! Why not change it up with something with the same wow factor like lobster or whole salmon, or a vegetarian wellington.


Healthy canapes!

The buffet or snacks can be one the most challenging for mindless eating. Research shows that we don’t register snacks in the same way as we do a meal, which can lead to over-consumption. Lots of salt can cause you drink more, which is great if you have an alcoholic tipple in hand. One thing you can
do is make your spread with lots of healthy options. Keep it fresh rather deep-fried! Some ideas include: 

1. Crudites instead of crisps with healthy dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush
2. Seafood like oysters, prawns and smoked salmon
3. Hollowed out cucumbers make a great nibble vessel instead of pastry!
4. Olives and unsalted nuts
5. Baked crostini with pesto and sun blushed tomatoes
6. Figs stuffed with soft goats cheese