The festive season is the time to celebrate and indulge - so, your health and wellbeing is probably the last thing on your mind. However, regardless of what your guilty pleasures are, try to enjoy them in moderation, and avoid starting the New Year with a long list of resolutions. To help you stay healthy over the festive season, we have gathered some helpful tips that you can follow without ruining your fun.
START THE DAY WITH A HEALTHY, HEARTY BREAKFAST
Few people realise the importance of breakfast, but starting the morning with a bite to eat is vital to keep your energy up, mood elevated, and get your metabolism going - especially if your breakfast is rich in fibre.
At Cult51, our favourite breakfast to boost your metabolism, control your appetite and curb those cravings is a generous helping of fibre-rich porridge. It’s versatile, nutritious and delicious! And, as it’s the season, you make it taste like Christmas by topping it off with a handful of cranberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dollop of probiotic yoghurt. Not only will it get you in the festive spirit, but it will also help support your immune system, improve your digestive health, and most importantly combat the less desirable effects of the party season.
DON'T JUST DRINK, HYDRATE
This time of the year many of us drink a little too much, and we don’t mean water… It’s the party season, so of course, you’ll be helping yourself to some mulled wine, champagne and other dehydrating libations. That’s why it is especially important to drink plenty of water during the day of a big night out, the day after, and every day in between! Even suffering from mild dehydration can lead to a headache, so if you want to avoid a particularly bad hangover and the other effects of excessive drinking, aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water or herbal tea a day.
INCLUDE HEALTHY AND WELL-TIMED SNACKS
Just as it’s important to eat breakfast for improved metabolism, eating small portions more regularly helps your metabolism to keep going. That’s why snacking may be beneficial, provided your snacks are healthy, small and you don’t have too many of them. During the festive season, planned snacks can help keep you from overindulging in food at parties by controlling your appetite, and can reduce the impact of overindulging on drink…
A healthy snack option would be a small pot of plain, unsweetened yoghurt with a sliced banana, some nuts and a drizzle of honey. The protein in yoghurt delays your stomach emptying which keeps you feeling fuller for longer and helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine. The potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in your salt intake, which is especially helpful if you’re going to be nibbling on olives, crisps, or salted nuts. Other snacks that will do the trick include a bowl of muesli with dairy-free milk, a mug of chunky vegetable soup, or simply a slice of toast with your favourite nut butter.
Ensure your diet consists of lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables, as these are high in antioxidants which are essential for a strong immune system. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, goji berries, raspberries, kale, red cabbage, beetroot, and spinach. Another surprisingly good source of antioxidants is dark chocolate. In fact, dark chocolate has more antioxidants per ounce than blueberries and raspberries! So, next time you’re hesitating to buy some chocolate, opt for one with a higher cocoa content for a beneficial, guilt-free treat.
When attending a party or event, there will usually be an array of different platters and snacks for the guests to pick at, however, as tempting as everything is, it is important for your health to be selective. We appreciate that at an event, you don’t want to be distracted from all the fun by worrying about your diet. So, don’t restrict yourself from eating what you enjoy, just try to limit how much unhealthy food you have and try to fill up on healthier options.
Make sure you fill most of your plate with salad or vegetables, and the rest with protein-based canapes, such as salmon or chicken. Avoid addictive snacks like bowls of crisps and sweets, as these are grazing foods which are difficult to stop eating. Also, try to distract yourself from mindless snacking by enjoying other aspects of the party, such as catching up with friends, dancing or playing festive games.
DON'T STARVE YOURSELF TO SAVE CALORIES
While it may seem tempting to starve yourself during the day so that you can justify eating even more at a party later, this strategy will probably backfire.
By the time you get to the event, you will be so hungry and weak that you will end up eating more than you planned, most likely in the form of high-fat and sugary snacks. Furthermore, starving yourself slows your metabolism, which makes overindulging at the party more damaging. Instead, make sure to have a generous breakfast and small healthy snacks throughout the day to ensure your metabolism is running at its optimum speed and to prevent you from giving in to your cravings.
CONTROL YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE
It’s especially pleasant to share a few drinks with family and friends at this time of year when you have the choice of a fruity mulled wine, a celebratory glass of champagne, or a vintage that has been stored away for years.
With all these extra choices and festive distractions, it’s easy to overdrink and cross the line from merry to misrecollection. Aside from the fact that overdrinking can actually dullen the fun, alcohol is also very calorific and can inhibit your discipline when it comes to eating. So, this season enjoy a few drinks, but try to limit yourself so that you can properly enjoy the event without unwanted repercussions…
SLEEP AND REST AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Sleeping is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re spending so many nights out celebrating. But lack of sleep can leave your hormones all over the place which triggers all kinds of flare-ups, including gut issues. During the festive season when we’re all drinking a little more and eating worse than usual, it is especially vital that your gut remains healthy so that your body functions properly and your immune system is strong. Getting between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every day allows your body and your gut time to rest and repair itself, which will keep you looking and feeling healthy.
SET ASIDE AT LEAST 15 MINUTES OF TRAINING EVERYDAY
A little exercise is better than none. So, aim to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing some kind of physical activity, whether it’s yoga, a leisurely walk or something more intense like a run or HIIT. Whatever you enjoy doing, stay active to ensure you speed up your metabolism, improve your fitness, and release endorphins which will elevate your mood and help you to make healthier choices.
As you can see, you can still indulge in some festive fun without losing control of your health. After all, healthy living is all about balance and moderation - and the party season is all about celebration!
How do you plan to stay healthy this season? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.