16 Ways to Have a Healthier December – Part 1

16 Ways to have a Healthier December

December is the time of year where food and drinks are flowing, and BBQ’s, Christmas parties and get-togethers fill up our calendars. It’s also a time filled with emotions – from joy, happiness and excitement to stress, sadness and loneliness – everyone has different feelings and emotions that are triggered at this time of year. And for many of us, food and emotion are inextricably linked.

All of these things combined can make December a pretty daunting and anxiety-provoking time of year for those of us who want to stay on track with our health and weight-loss goals.

So how can you have a healthier December? Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to share my top tips that can help you make healthier choices over the coming festive season, that will nourish your body, mind and soul – so you can enjoy a healthier and happier Christmas this year.

First off I’ll share some simple tips to help support a healthy body, liver and digestive system over the coming weeks – so you can head into Christmas feeling light, confident and full of energy!

Tips For a Healthy December Body:

number 1Don’t deprive yourself completely

Life is for fun, pleasure and indulgence from time to time, so even if you’re wanting to stay healthy and maintain your weight over the festive season, do so in a way that doesn’t make you feel deprived.

There are so many healthy alternatives to your usual holiday treats. Try coconut ice-cream, make healthy Christmas brownies, homemade sugar-free cookies or sweet potato chips. Instead of drinking wine or champagne, make yourself a decadent ‘mocktail’ that makes you feel like you’re enjoying a real treat.

If you ‘google’ your favourite Christmas indulgence, I can almost guarantee there is a recipe for a healthy alternative out there. You just have to spend a bit of time researching the options and then get creative!

Also allow yourself you enjoy those things that only come around once a year – a mince pie, candy cane or Xmas chocolates, just choose not to over-indulge. Take time to connect with your body and listen to when it’s feeling full and nourished rather than eating just because the food is there and tastes good (tips on how to do this in part 2). Also aim to eat well (lots of fresh vegetables, healthy fats and clean protein) for the rest of the day when you do indulge in a treat. Remember it’s what you do most of the time, not some of the time that counts.

number 2

Don’t go anywhere hungry!

Have you ever done the food shopping on the way home from work and ended up loading your trolley with things you didn’t need? And I don’t mean a bunch of kale and bag of carrots! When we’re hungry we’re more likely to make less-than-desirable food choices. This applies to Christmas parties, dinners or get-togethers as well. I suggest having something to eat before you go, and you’ll arrive feeling satisfied so you can enjoy the canapés without going crazy. It’s so liberating when you can look at a plate of unhealthy food and say no, not because you’re depriving yourself, but because you really don’t feel like it.

number 3

Take a plate

If you’re going to a party, offer to bring along a plate of food or snacks. That way you’ll know there will be something healthy there that you can enjoy and fill up on. A good option is to take along a dessert, as this is typically where healthy habits get undone! Fruit salad is an excellent healthy alternative and a great way to end a heavy meal.

number 4Start with the Veg

If you’re going to a buffet or a BBQ, or even a cocktail party, fill up 2/3 of your plate with greens, salads and vegetables first. Then the remaining space can be filled with meat, carbs and anything else. Even better, use a smaller plate! We often fill out plates without really thinking about the quantity of food on it. Once you’ve finished you can assess how you feel (more on this in part 2) and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.

number 5Be Choosy

While it can be difficult in a social situation where you can’t choose you own food, when you can, there are a few strategies you can use to make healthier choices:

Try to avoid things with sauces or dressings, deep fried or crumbed foods and anything that includes common allergens (which can cause inflammation and digestive issues) like bread, pasta and dairy products. Instead opt for a simple and clean choice like a healthy salad or vegetables, and some high-quality protein such as grilled chicken, BBQ lamb or fish.

6Don’t be afraid to ask

When you’re eating out at a restaurant don’t be afraid to check what’s in a dish on the menu or for something to be substituted or even for your food to be prepared in a certain way. I’ve been on many elimination diets over the years and I’ve always found restaurants to be really supportive and helpful in making recommendations or substitutions from the menu. The simplest option is to stick with a salad or vegetables and clean protein that’s been baked or grilled, and try to avoid sauces and dressings (as these generally include sugar, preservatives or soy).

7Water it down

While I’m not one to count calories, the reality is there are a lot of those bad boys in an alcoholic beverage or 2! And they are just empty calories – they provide no nutritional benefit to your body. Plus, alcohol disrupts our normal detoxification process as it’s very poisonous to the body, which can lead to a toxic build-up when we drink daily or even regularly for some people. Alcohol has to be converted by the liver into acetaldehyde before it can be excreted, so the body will stop detoxing everything else to work on the alcohol as a priority. This can cause these toxins to be recycled back into the body(which can lead to various health issues).
You can easily reduce your intake by alternating your drinks with a glass of water, or sip on sparkling water with a slice of lime, so you’re less likely to be pressured to drink alcohol.

8Feed the good guys

A diet high in sugar and alcohol can throw out the balance of good vs bad bacteria in our gut (they feed the bad guys helping them proliferate). This can lead to a myriad of digestive and health issues. If you know you’re going to indulge in more sugar, processed foods and alcohol over the coming weeks, now is a good time to balance out these foods with things that feed and support the good guys in your tummy! Take a daily probiotic and incorporate fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and kombucha into your diet regularly.

Of course, health and wellbeing isn’t all about food, so next week I’m going to share another 8 tips for maintaining a healthy mind and soul this December too!

See you next time!

With love,

taryn-sig-gray3

 

1https://www.drlibby.com/blog/the-impact-of-alcohol

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