I’ve written this post in connection with Ramsay Health Care UK who are one of the top providers of hospital services around England. They also write a Health Blog that contains some very useful articles about your day-to-day healthcare, including a new campaign titled ‘Are We A Nation of Healthy Eaters?’ in which they surveyed 1200 men and women to find out about the nation’s good and bad eating habits.
As we’re quickly building up to the festive period and with Christmas parties, nights out, dinner parties & many other festive celebrations on the horizon, I thought I’d share some of my top tips for not going completely overboard at this time of year!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a drink (or two!) and I do believe that at this time of year it’s especially important to let your hair down and enjoy yourself. What I am conscious of is getting to January and having undone all of that hard work I’ve put in over the previous year.
This certainly isn’t a ‘you must never eat X’ or ‘if you eat this then bad things will happen’ type of post. It’s simply a few tips to keep you on track without losing all of the progress you’ve made this year . So let’s get started!
Plan Your Shopping Ahead
If you know what you’re going to buy over the festive period (or at any time actually) you’re less likely to need to go to every single aisle at the supermarket and pick up those ‘extra treats’ that you ended up stumbling upon.
Plan your evening meals over the coming 3-5 days, write down the list of ingredients you’ll require and go specifically to that section. Stick to the list religiously however if you do have to deviate, at least first ask yourself the question ‘is this really necessary?‘.
You’ll have less snacks about the house and it will help your bank balance too!
Bulk Out With Pulses & Grains
During the festive period we all love those wholesome hearty dishes that certainly warm yourself from those cold Winter nights. These dishes are perfect for bulking out with additional pulses such as kidney beans, as well as grains such as pearl barley.
By bulking out these dishes with pulses and grains you’ll be fuller for longer which means you won’t be raiding the cupboards two hours later for whatever you can get your hands on!
Snack Before Dining Out
Over the festive period there’s plenty of opportunities to dine out. Whether it’s a work’s Christmas dinner or just socialising with friends and family, there’s likely to be a number of unhealthy options to choose from such as white breads, crisps, salted nuts and other unhealthy snacks that will be put out.
By eating some fruit or another healthy snack just before leaving for the event, you won’t be starving and you’ll therefore be in a position to think more clearly about your food choices. You might decide that you don’t need that pre-dinner snack or starter after all and just wait for the main meal, saving you plenty of salt & sugar consumption (and of course additional calories!).
Healthy Snacks At Your Reach
Sticking with the snacks I’m going to repeat the answer that I give to the question that I’m often asked ‘How did you lose all of that weight Adam?’ – the answer being ‘I avoided eating all of the obvious bad foods by making the right choices over a prolonged period of time.
Now I’m not saying I didn’t relapse on the odd occasion but one of the main focuses was when I craved something sweet I’d have a healthier alternative on standby at home or on the go i.e. cashew nuts or a protein bar.
It’s important that you educate yourself on alternative snacking options because the last thing you should ever do is go without food.
Check The Menu First
My final tip is when you’re invited out for a meal at a restaurant to check the menu in advance. The majority of restaurants these days have their menus online so that people can decide whether or not they wish to go, and although that’s important, for you it offers an additional advantage.
You can look at the healthier options on offer from the comfort of your own home without feeling rushed or pressured to make a decision at the table. If you like the sound of something that maybe comes with an element that’s not so healthy, you can ask for it to be omitted or swapped i.e. an unhealthy salad dressing for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I hope you take these tips on board over the festive period and beyond because these subtle changes can have a really positive impact on your health, and if you continue to adopt them over a consistent period of time, you’ll feel better inside and out. Thanks for reading and enjoy yourself over the holidays!
Disclaimer – a commission was received for this post however all opinions and writing is that of my own.