How To Avoid A Food Coma At Christmas
Who doesn’t enjoy a celebration and the spirit of the festive season? However, with most Christmas celebrations come food and drink, often in abundance. In order to leave you feeling fresh as a daisy rather than slow and sluggish, here is our friendly dietitian’s guide to surviving the food and fluid of the silly season.
Pace yourself and plan ahead
Start by considering what functions you have coming up. If there are a few in a row, plan ahead and think about which ones you might have a couple of alcoholic drinks at, and which ones you will stick to water. Remember there is no rule about having to drink at all - the choice is entirely yours.
When an array of food is on offer, choose the foods you will really enjoy. Take a serving, eat, and savour it! Visit the buffet once and choose the foods you most desire, focusing on quality over quantity.
Eat a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables
Vegetables don’t have to be boring, in fact, they can be a highlight of a meal - even Brussels sprouts pan-fried in extra virgin olive oil taste delicious! Think about roast potatoes, pumpkin and carrots, fresh green beans, and sweet peas to get your mouth watering.
If you have been asked to bring a dish, consider fresh salads with festive flare. Add fresh nuts, mango, and a range of greens to salads. Think about baby spinach, watercress, snow peas and more, topped with balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and avocado and drizzled with nut or olive oils.
When making antipasto platters or snacking on dips, cut up fresh vegetables to balance out crackers.
Be creative with leftovers
Leftovers can be a great help over the holiday period, as they can reduce cooking and shopping time. We don’t need to eat everything at once in an effort to prevent wastage, as we will then often find that we just need to restock and cook again. Be creative with what you have - leftover ham can go into a homemade fried rice with plenty of vegetables, into an omelette, or chopped into a salad.
Leftover roast meats make great additions to salads, for example, warm chicken or lamb salad. They also make tasty toasted sandwiches with tomato and roast onion. In summer, we still have cold days when extra meat and vegetables can be used to make a quick, delicious soup or curry.
Start the trend of nourishing gift-giving. Boxes of fresh cherries, raspberries, mangoes, nuts, cheeses, peaches, pots of herbs, oils, and vinegars. This supports our local farmers and can provide a great day out, picking fruit with friends or family as well. A fresh food parcel in place of a box of biscuits or confectionery will be a gift that keeps on giving and doesn’t expand the waistline.
Enjoy the traditional festive treats, as without guilt you are more likely to find balance. When short breads are forbidden, they become irresistible. However, when you give yourself permission to eat them anytime, you will find they can wait. It can also help to keep them in the cupboard until Christmas rather than starting weeks before.
Importantly, remember that overindulgence on one day will not damage your health. It is what you do for most of the year that really counts. Overeating, especially numerous days in a row, can leave you feeling unwell and less likely to enjoy yourself. Indulge a little whilst being conscious of what you are eating. Ask yourself a few questions first before reaching for food – am I really hungry and what do I really feel like?
By surrounding yourself with quality fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seafood, lean meats and delicious whole grains (think crusty sour dough bread), you may find yourself reaching for these foods more often than you thought, keeping you feeling fresh and well, rather than sluggish and in a food coma throughout the festive season!