How to enjoy the Christmas festivities with your health in mind

7th December 2018 / Health

How to enjoy the Christmas festivities with your health in mind

Zoe Milkowski

We’re well and truly stuck into December and that really only means one thing… the holidays are coming! Roll on a whole month of fun-filled festivities, spending quality time with loved ones and (the part we’re most excited about) all the delicious and warming Christmas food.

Christmas has almost become synonymous with overeating and indulging in treats and it’s very easy to get carried away with the holiday spirit. We tend to write off December as a time to overindulge and vow to restart all over again in January with some hastily penned down New Year’s resolutions. But what if this year, we encourage ourselves to do things a little differently? There’s a big difference between indulging and over-indulging and here at Link Nutrition, we want to offer some tips and advice on how you can enjoy yourself with your health in mind.

Retain some form of routine

We’re all looking forward to some much needed days off to relax, de-stress and really get into the spirit of things with a mince pie or two, but we must try not to let all of our healthy habits go out the window. Take advantage of a few days away from the desk and tupperware box meals to really get your nutrition and physical activity regime on plan. Try and stick to your regular mealtimes and whilst enjoying your treat days try and make sure these don’t turn into treat weeks. An easy and effective way to try and keep your nutrition on plan is by including protein with every meal. This will keep you feeling fuller for longer, leaving you less room to snack. A basic, example meal plan could be:


Breakfast: Protein porridge with berries

Lunch: Spinach and tomato omelette

Dinner: Chicken breast with roasted vegetables

Dessert: Greek yoghurt with a dollop of honey

Snack: Handful of almonds


Of course this approach may not work for everyone, but if you want to start January on the right foot and with a positive mindset, there’s no harm in trying to stick to a few of these key pieces of advice.


Know when to stop

We may be relating this point to food and knowing when to stop eating, but self-discipline and self-control is a very important life skill. How many times have you reached for that third, fourth or fifth chocolate and immediately regretted it? We aren’t just talking about not wanting the extra calories, or unwanted sugar rush here but also the effects overeating can have on our bodies. No one enjoys feeling sick after eating too much or feeling so bloated we can’t wear our favourite pair of jeans.


These feelings of discomfort are our bodies way of trying to tell us that they have had enough. We must learn to recognise the signs our body is giving us and respect ourselves enough to listen to them.


These same principles can also of course be applied to over-exercising at Christmas time. Although this may be a less common occurrence we can sometimes feel the need to over-do it with our exercise regime to make up for the fact that we’re letting our diet standards slip. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… balance and moderation is the key.


Prioritise your sleep

Whether it’s the office Christmas party or a festive boozy dinner with the girls, December seems to be a time for never-ending Christmas do’s. Not only does getting to bed later make you feel less sharp and alert the next day, but sleep deprivation can actually put you at a higher risk of serious health problems. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are just some of the conditions that have been linked to chronic sleep deprivation.


Prioritising a good night’s sleep now can help ward off the onset of these conditions later on in life. If you know that you’re going to have a few late nights later on in the week, make sure to plan ahead and fit some earlier nights in at the start of the week. Your energy levels, purse (and liver) may just thank you for it.


Keep active

Christmas time is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to get together and be active. We know it’s cold and often tempting to spend the whole day inside grazing comfortably on the sofa but try to get up and get out. There are so many different activities on offer during the winter months for the whole family to enjoy.


You could find out where your nearest Christmas market is and organise a trip for the whole family walking around the stalls and enjoying the decorations. We find it easier to get our training sessions finished up earlier on in the day - even a brisk 30 minute walk before or an hour or two after a big lunch can make all the difference.