December has arrived, and that means that Christmas is fast approaching. Mulled wine, turkey dinner, gingerbread men and pudding are definitely non-negotiable elements of a Christmas diet, however, uncontrolled Christmas indulgence is not ideal for our health either. Over the winter, when we need our bodies nourished and strong, the last thing we really need is a significantly increased intake of alcohol, salt, fat and sugar combined with more inactive time inside. Keep reading for three ways of staying healthy over the holidays and still enjoy it!
3 ways of staying healthy
1: All in moderation
Most of us let our healthy habits slip during the cold winter months. But is completely fine to occasionally indulge as long as we keep our diet wholesome and balanced most of the time. Many people swear to an 80:20 ratio, eating healthfully 80% of the time, and allow yourself less healthy treats 20% of the time – completely guilt free. The festive season might require us to stretch this ratio to 70% healthy and 30% indulgent. To balance this, aim for a bit of physical activity every day. A walk after dinner, a morning run in the fresh air, a candlelit yoga session or a sweaty gym class will help you feel fresh and energised. Remember that if you live in a cold country, you might need a few extra calories as the temperature drops, as you use more energy keeping warm. Just make sure these calories come from nutritious and wholesome food.
2: Combine nutritious and delicious
A good trick is to make healthy treats at home, so you know exactly what’s going in each dish. Often store-bought goods contain lots of refined sugars and hidden additives. Simple swaps like white sugar for coconut sugar and wheat flour for almond flour makes a big difference. Homemade chocolate chip oat cookies and hot apple cider are favourites on a cold winter night.
Choosing organic ingredients helps to minimise toxins in your system, and opting for in-season vegetables ensures optimal nutrition levels and minimal environmental impact. Beetroots, carrots and brussels sprouts are all in season during winter.
3: Boost your immune system
Strengthening your immune system throughout the winter is a good investment in your health. Growing up in Scandinavia, I am a firm believer in cod liver oil – a teaspoon every morning in all months containing the letter “r”. Additionally, aim for food packed with immune system boosters. Vitamin D will help you fight off infections quickly and can be found in fatty fish like salmon, as well as soy milk and orange juice. Another way to help your body fighting off colds and infections quicker is by boosting your zinc levels. Sunflower- and pumpkin seeds are good sources. Your immune system will also benefit from increased intake of friendly bacteria found in for example yoghurt.Vitamin C also helps restore new cells and you can take them easily as a C-vitamin flush.
For more great tips take a look our article about How To Not Overindulge During the Holidays
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