Kiwi shaped as a Christmas tree on a white plate

Wellbeing



Our guide to healthy eating this festive season

As we head into the festive period, follow our top tips to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid overindulgence this Christmas

The festive season is fast approaching, bringing with it countless social occasions, rich foods and sweet treats. While we all like to enjoy our Christmas dinner and a mince pie , moderation is key to staying healthy during the Christmas period. Here are some simple steps to avoid overindulgence at this time of the year.

1. Fill up on healthy options first

White table laid with Christmas dinner including turkey and all the trimmings

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so by starting with a healthy option including fruit and protein, you’re less likely to snack on sweet treats and it’ll give you a head start on your five a day count! Research has also found that skipping breakfast is linked to diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure – now that’s a reason to never pass on the porridge!

When it comes to the Christmas buffet, try and opt for lean turkey and fish, veg and salad as these are much kinder to your heart. Avoid fattier foods or anything cooked in butter and cheese as these contain saturated fats and can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood which can lead to an increase in heart problems. Instead, why not swap butter or lard for olive oil spread, and use mashed avocado to accompany dessert instead of cream?

2. Quality over quantity

Festive shaped cookies in a white dish on a white wooden table

Over the Christmas period we usually consume more than three times the necessary daily calories – so think about of what you’re actually eating in a day and prioritise your favourite foods to help reduce the amount you eat. At mealtime, pack your plate with healthy vegetables like broccoli and spinach which are full of iron. When it comes to snacking in between, instead of indulging in everything that comes your way, question whether you really need another handful of chocolate coins and enjoy a fresh fruit salad or handful of nuts instead.

3. Meal prep for the festive season

Containers of food ingredients for prepping healthy dinners

December is a very busy month with social occasions, shopping trips and present wrapping, leaving less time to cook healthy meals. By preparing a selection of meals suitable for freezing such as casseroles and stews at the start of December not only will you reap the benefit of extra time when you need it most, but your heart will also thank you.

Although Christmas is known for indulging in lots of naughty food, it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy time of the year. By enjoying treats in moderation and selecting healthier options where possible, you’ll be able to ensure you and your family have a fun festive break whilst looking after your health.