Without a doubt Christmas is getting closer. No one needs to be reminded that during the lead up to Christmas it is often a time when we can feel busy and sometimes stressed.
What can you do in regards to food to ensure that you look after your energy levels and at the same time try to avoid any unnecessary weight gain?
Although Christmas is known as the silly season you don’t have to throw all your good habits out the door.
To look after your energy levels it is still important that you maintain good habits. In particular don’t skip meals just because you are going out later that night. Certainly you may want to make sure you are having healthy choices over the day so you can enjoy a treat while you are out, but don’t skip a meal to make up for your anticipated meal that night. If you skip a meal you are more likely to arrive at the function starving and then you are more likely to over-indulge.
Your energy levels will be affected if you are skipping meals during the day. This can increase the risk of looking for extra snacks later in the afternoon. Over-indulging at a meal can also make you feel more sluggish.
Keep up with your fluid intake – and here I mean water, not alcohol! If you are dehydrated during the day this can affect your energy levels significantly. Being only slightly dehydrated can lead to feelings of tiredness and poor concentration, it can make you grumpy and it can also lead to headaches.
None of us need these feelings at a time when we are all busy! Often one of the first signs of dehydration, along with thirst, is a feeling of vague discomfort and we are at risk of interpreting this as needing something to eat. If you keep up with good fluid intake, it decreases your risk of becoming tired and also eating extra nibbles that will only add to your waistline!
We all know how terrible we can feel the day after a big social occasion if we have over-indulged in alcohol. Don’t forget the good habits you may have during the rest of the year. For instance, for every alcoholic drink you have follow it with a non-alcoholic drink. If you are worried about your weight, the best choices here are water (sparkling or still), soda water, tomato juice or diet drinks.
If you are at a sit down dinner make sure there is a glass of water beside your wine glass – and alternate sips from each glass. Another idea you could try is offer to be the nominated driver for the night — you will certainly be popular with your friends, you’ll save on the cost of a taxi, and you’ll wake up feeling much better in the morning.
Trying to be organised with meals is also one way of preserving your sanity and looking after your energy levels. It is never too early to start planning what you will need over the Christmas / New Year period. Many of you may have already started buying some food items that will keep well. This will not only help with budget concerns over Christmas it will also mean that you will be able to spend less time in those frantically busy supermarkets the closer we get to Christmas.
To make sure you don’t have to go backwards and forwards to the supermarket too many times write down what you need as soon as you realise you have run out. Check out any recipes you are using and check you have all the ingredients, there is nothing worse than going backwards and forwards for small items.
Try to spread the load. If you are hosting the Christmas meal at your place, or even if you are entertaining before Christmas ask people to bring things. If you still want to maintain some control over the menu tell them specifically what you would like them to bring – don’t just ask for a salad; tell them what sort so you don’t end up with 4 lettuce salads.
Make the most of the fact that we celebrate Christmas in the summer months. Plan the Christmas dinner around the BBQ – this could be a good way to encourage those men who may need some prompting to get involved with Christmas cooking duties.
Although it is sometimes hard to remember, let’s not forget that Christmas is a time of celebration, not a time to run ourselves into the ground with exhaustion and stress.