Christmas can be a magical time of year but it’s very easy for it to be quite unhealthy too.
A lot of us feel lethargic and sluggish after overindulging over the holidays. Add in the fact that fitness can go on the back burner at this time of year too, and you've got a recipe for feeling unhealthy and gaining a lot of extra pounds.
So let’s talk about how you can enjoy a healthier family Christmas this year and still keep things fun.
1. Eat a Good Breakfast
Chocolate or butter tarts for breakfast may seem super fun at Christmas but often, it just leads to more snacking for the rest of the day.
A good breakfast fills you up so you’re less likely to grab every festive treat before lunchtime!
If you skimp on breakfast, it's a whole lot more likely that you'll be craving sugary and fatty foods for the rest of the day.
But a good breakfast sets you up for eating in a balanced way.
Think poached or scrambled eggs or a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit. To put a festive treat on it, you can add in cranberries and dates.
A breakfast that includes protein is a super smart choice over Christmas and bonus points if you can also work in some healthy fats like salmon or avocado.
2. Be Mindful of Hidden Calories
Sauces can add a ton of extra calories. They can also contain a whole heap of salt too.
Even cranberry sauce can become super unhealthy if it's processed and full of fat, salt, and calories.
If you can make your own versions, it can make a huge difference.
Alcohol is also a huge source of hidden calories and many holiday cocktails have juices, soda, or cream which all have loads of sugar and/or fat.
Holding back on these extra calories and piling plates with plenty of veggies is perfect for a healthier Christmas.
As an added bonus, veggies can help fill you up so snacking isn't as likely later on!
3. Portion Your Meals and Treats
It's always super tempting to eat bigger portions over the holidays, especially since many of the foods we "only get once a year", so we tend to stuff ourselves full.
Keeping portions to a regular size is super important and if you do eat more than normal as a family for meals over Christmas, make the veggies count.
As a general rule? Aim for half the plate to be made up of veggies and pack in as many different ones as you can to get a wider range of nutrients.
Having a healthier Christmas doesn't mean you have to give up the treats - just portion them instead!
Instead of grabbing a ton of treats and eating them mindlessly, get everyone into the habit of only having a piece or two of chocolate or mini treats rather than full-sized ones.
I like to cut my treats in bite-size pieces so I can eat a few of them and get to satisfy my sweet tooth when I just can't decide what to choose!
This way, the whole family can still enjoy treats but without tons of calories and sugar!
4. Make Healthy Treats
Another super easy way to enjoy your favourite treats is to come up with your own versions to make them healthier.
You can put a festive twist on them too so you don’t feel like you’re missing out over the holidays. Adding flavours such as gingerbread and cinnamon can bring a winter or Christmas vibe while still being a ton healthier than processed treats.
Your little ones will likely find these treats fun and yummy too and it’s a really easy way to give them healthier treats.
5. Keep Moving
Vegging out in front of the television watching Christmas movies every night can be traditional at the holidays, but it's also a huge factor in adding those unwanted extra pounds over the holidays.
If your Christmas usually goes like this, try switching things up this year. Look for creative ways to get the whole family moving. That can be anything from going for an after-dinner walk to a family dance-off to festive tunes.
A few more ideas include:
Stretching or doing mini HIIT workouts while watching festive films and tv show
Packing up a picnic and enjoying it after a walk
Having a snowball fight if you get a white Christmas
Getting active after eating can help with digestion and minimizes blood sugar spikes. As well as burning calories, this can also keep cravings in check and curb snacking later on.
6. Give Your Brain a Workout Too
Spending a bunch of time on the couch over Christmas can have negative effects on your mind too. It's common for your brain to feel sluggish too.
Avoiding this can be as simple as keeping your brain active over the holidays.
Unplug your phones for a while and play some board games as a family or some family-friendly puzzles.
It can be a really fun alternative to watching Christmas movies and television, as well as being a great mental workout.
Physical activity can also help keep your brain healthy - another great reason to get out and about as a family over Christmas!
I hope you found these tips helpful for making your Christmas a little bit healthier!
Leave a comment below and let me know which tip you're going to try this season :)