Urban Guru's top tips for safeguarding your waistline this Christmas
Christmas is upon us and with it comes party season. The best intentions often go out of the window and even those with an iron will can find themselves succumbing to a few too many mince pies and mulled wines...
But fear not! All is not lost. By sticking to a few guidelines and being clear on your boundaries, you can avoid the situation where, come 27th December, you can't get into your jeans. Here are some of our best tips to help you make it through the party season unscathed.
1) Don't skip meals
If you know you're going somewhere where there will be limitless canapes, the worst thing you can do is arrive on an empty stomach. The chances are most of what will be on offer will be choc-full of calories, carbohydrates and refined ingredients. Have a healthy, well balanced meal before you go to keep your blood sugar steady and those hunger pangs at bay.
2) Stay hydrated
And we don't mean with alcohol! Not only will water help you feel fuller sooner, it will help you avoid the worst of those post-party hangovers. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so make sure you keep plenty of water on hand to avoid the temptation to overeat. Try keeping a fruit infused water bottle on your desk - our favourite ingredients are cucumber & mint, lemon & ginger and orange & elderflower. Purifying herbal teas are also great for flushing toxins out of the system - look out for those containing fennel, liquorice, nettle, peppermint and dandelion.
3) Avoid portion distortion
It's OK to enjoy your Christmas meal, just make sure you watch your portion sizes. A traditional lunch of turkey and colourful vegetables is actually quite healthy, just be conscious of how many trimmings and sauces you're loading on the side.
4) Front load your greens
If it's hard to avoid the carb fest on the canape trays, make sure you dose up on your fruit and veg early in the day. That way you'll ensure you're hitting the "magic 5" and are still getting the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need. Try switching to savoury options for breakfast, such as avocado on toast or eggs florentine with grilled tomatoes. For lunch, opt for a green leafy salad with some protein such as chicken or tofu.
5) Substitute ingredients
There are plenty of healthier options you can use in your recipes - coconut yoghurt instead of brandy butter, olive oil instead of goose fat, chestnut flour instead of regular gluten-based flour. And reduce the amount of sugar you use in your desserts - the chances are people won't even notice the difference. With a little creativity, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary calories.
6) Agree your dealbreakers
Everyone deserves a little treat over Christmas, so don't pass up on all the enjoyment. Just know what you're prepared to cave in for and stick to your guns. Whether it's one small treat a day, or certain things which make it Christmas to you (Mama's favourite Stollen), it's important to feel you can enjoy them, just a little bit.
7) Be mindful of your choice of tipple
Cocktails are sugar bombs, so avoid them at all costs! Anything containing fruit juice will be hiding a multitude of sins - don't be fooled into thinking it will classify as one of your 5 a day. Instead, opt for something containing fewer calories, such as a gin & slimline or a vodka, lime & soda. Red wine also has less sugar than white. Alternating between a glass of water and an alcoholic drink will also ensure you stay well hydrated and don't make a fool of yourself.
8) Emergency hangover prevention
If the room is spinning when you get home, drink 2 glasses of warm water before falling into bed.
9) Boost your friendly bacteria
Supercharge your gut health and prepare it for the onslaught of late nights, hangovers and indulgent food by taking a good probiotic - we like Symprove. A few items you could also add to your lunch menu include miso soup, sauerkraut and natural yoghurt, all rich sources of good bacteria.
10) It's your choice!
Ultimately, remember that just because the food is there doesn't mean you have to have it. Stay attuned to your body's needs and don't succumb to mindless consumption. Conscious eating is where it's at this Christmas.
If you're interested in knowing more about nutrition and how to structure a plan which fits your body, take a look at our Fuel offering