The ‘Silly Season’ is in full swing – Christmas parties, summer barbecues, sporting wind-ups, school functions – it’s never ending!

Often, in these circumstances, the temptation of food and drink (of the alcoholic variety) is running on high. Eating, drinking and just being merry is an incredibly important facet of the festive season. At this time of year, don’t be a slave to your individual self. Allow yourself to let go a little, but know your limits and what works best for you.

Here are my best tips for maintaining optimal health during this busy period.

Everything in moderation.

Don’t deprive yourself of anything, rather have a bit of all that is on offer/appeals. When you deprive yourself of food, you increase its appeal, thus overeating is the natural result. Have no guilt, just enjoy. Also remember to not put so much pressure on yourself – focus on what you do, not what you don’t do.

Start the day with a good breakfast. 

Many of the catch ups revolve around lunch and dinner time. Starting the day with a good balanced breakfast will keep you satiated and your blood glucose levels balanced until the next meal. Examples include; a homemade muesli and fruit, eggs on toast, or a hearty bowl of porridge with nuts/seeds.

Aim to put greens on your plate at each meal.

Adding more magnesium-rich green leafy vegetables to your meals will mean that your taste buds will overtime adapt, making them more sensitive to overly sweet foods. Furthermore, magnesium also helps with blood sugar level balance, a major key to reducing sugar cravings.

Manage stress.

A stressed mind = a stressed body = inadequate digestion/absorption/metabolism, poor sleep, poor food choices etc. For more on that see this previous post on Silly Season Stress.

Get adequate sleep each night.

While you sleep your body is producing new protein molecules. These help to rebuild and repair the damaged ones, strengthening the body’s immune system, which is very important during this busy and often stressful period!  Sleep is the ultimate repair agent. When we don’t get adequate sleep, our hormone balance becomes interrupted and the body releases the nasty ‘ghrelin’ hormone which stimulates hunger which means we are more than likely to reach for the less-healthy, more refined and sugary snack options. Lack of sleep also slows down the metabolism.

Offer to take a salad or a crudite platter to your next catch-up.

Prepping your own food to take to a party will ensure you have access to healthy options when it comes to meal time. Alternatively, get creative this festive season and experiment with healthier version of your favourite treats. On the other hand, if the party is outside of your normal eating patterns, try and consume a satiating and balanced snack before you head out – that way you are less reliant on the food at the party and you’re maintaing your normal daily healthy eating practices.

Incorporate wellness into your family gathering. 

The more the merrier when it comes to activity and there is no better fun than getting the family involved. Perhaps its a game of beach cricket, a session of pool volleyball or a walk around the park…whatever takes your fancy.

Watch the stimulants.

As much as l love coffee, I do know that too much does have a negative effect on my body, namely my endocrine system. Alcohol too. For this reason, I try to stick to my 1 coffee per day rule, having it in the morning. Try incorporating more herbal tea and increasing your water intake in lieu of more caffeine and alcohol of the festive season.

If you do happen to overindulge on the alcohol incorporate more liver cleansing foods which will help restore optimal liver function and hormone balance. These include: garlic, beets, carrot, dark leafy veg, olive oil, apples, cabbage, broccoli and avocados.

Aim for adequate water consumption too. Most people need between 8-10 glasses per day. You may need more though in the heat as well as if your drinking alcohol. Listen to your body, that is key.

Check in on this post for some healthier drink options this silly season – Booze free drinks for Summer.

Move meaningfully. 

Start the day with 30 minutes of meaningful movement. This clears the mind, keeps us grounded and gets us out in the fresh summer air. Make this routine so that it’s not so hard to re-implement after the holiday period.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all x