Healthy Holiday Tips Posted on 12 Nov 10:32 , 0 comments

It’s just too easy to drop the ball when it comes to health at this time of the year. Christmas functions, New Year celebrations and back yard barbecues all provide us with an over abundance of eating opportunities. So how can we indulge in the festive food, enjoy the social aspect of Christmas and still come out the other end feeling fit and healthy? We can treat ourselves to healthy super nutrient rich food this Christmas, here are some of my favourite tips.

Plan to succeed

One strategy is to enlist a Nutrition Coach or Dietician to help you come up with a really easy base-plan, one that allows plenty of room for the BBQ party, the Christmas drinks and all the little extras in between. Being accountable to someone over the 'high-risk' months could help you kick off the New Year feeling great about your body. That's a small price to pay compared with piling on another few kilos over the holiday period.

Boost your metabolism

Get your body burning as many calories as possible each day to offset the extras. You may think exercise is all it takes, but you're wrong. The biggest changes will come from your nutrition, your water intake, your fibre intake, your meal frequency and your protein intake. Add some magic with a few supplements too. I recommend a good multivitamin, omega 3 fats and the famous low calorie diet mimicker ‘Resveratrol’. The worst things we can do are under eat, skip meals and forget to take a multi.

Stoke the fire

Nutritionists agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without a high quality source of protein to start your day, your body has a difficult time maintaining adequate energy levels, keeping hormonal balance, producing strong nails and healthy skin or hanging on to muscle or muscle tone. In the absence of nutrients, your body perceives starvation. A low fat, low lactose protein smoothie can be used as a meal replacement for weight loss or weight maintenance.

Balance your blood sugars

Blood sugar highs and lows can create bad moods, cravings and headaches. If you leave it too long in between meals it will be hard to resist the chocolate in the afternoon. Plan a nutritious snack for morning and afternoon tea, natural yoghurt with fresh fruit, low fat cheese on wholegrain crackers or a protein shake with berries and ice. Even if you are on the go, a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit is a portable easy snack.

Be smart about your drinking

Any reduction in alcohol consumption is a positive step to weight loss, try to have up to five ‘alcohol free’ days a week to give your body a chance to recover and get rid of the alcohol. If your goal is to lose weight, then calories count and two big glasses of wine could add up to 400 extra calories. If your body doesn’t use these calories in the evening they will be converted to fat. Try mixing wine with soda water or sparkling wine with diet lemonade.

Eat strawberries

If you are watching your weight strawberries are the perfect snack. At only 50 calories per cup, strawberries are a healthy treat you can eat anytime. Buy fresh strawberries in bulk and freeze them to use in smoothies all year round. Eight strawberries offer more vitamin C than an orange, more than 200mg of potassium and are a good source of folic acid and fibre. If you enjoy a regular chocolate fix try dipping strawberries in dark chocolate.

Use a pedometer

Apparently they increase your physical activity by more than 26%, decrease your systolic blood pressure and lower your weight. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out that on average, pedometer users increased their physical activity by 2183 steps per day, regardless of whether they achieved the 10,000 steps a day goal. Daily exercise not only helps control energy balance (calories in – calories out) but it also helps your brain produce feel good hormones, which help alleviate depression and balance hormones.

Take a vitamin

Research from several studies, one published in The British Journal of Nutrition suggests that vitamins may be associated with a lower body weight and reduced appetite. Multivitamins are especially effective at reducing hunger symptoms for females on energy-restricted diets. Men, who reported the use of vitamin and mineral supplements had a lower weight, carried less fat and had higher resting energy expenditure compared to men in the placebo group. The results were similar in women. Vitamins and minerals work together as a team in the body, if one team member is off sick (or missing) the other team members can’t do their job properly. The first thing to add if you want to use supplements is a good multivitamin.