Six Top Tips for a Calmer and Healthier Christmas

Offered By The Nutrition Activist

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many, it is also a tough time of year for many too. As a professional who works with people on developing healthy habits this time of year is an interesting one.

The aisles of supermarkets are lined with food that companies have spent billions of pounds formulating so that they are absolutely and truly delicious. Our mouths water as we walk past them and our hearts sink as we realise that they don’t fit into our healthy eating plan but, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Supermarket trolley filled with food in shopping isle

For me, any celebration, but particularly Christmas is about being realistic, enjoying the occasion and part of that is the food.

With this in mind, here are my top tips on how, if you are aiming for a Christmas where you don’t emerge feeling as stuffed as the turkey, you can enjoy Christmas, enjoy the food and emerge feeling positive and refreshed.

  1. Have a Plan

If you enjoy mince pies, yule log, roast potatoes and bread sauce then please do have them. The trick is to fill your Christmas plate with all the goodness and foods you enjoy and really relish every mouthful. But it can really help, if you don’t want to overindulge to have a plan around your Christmas meals in advance.

Knowing what you are going to be eating and drinking will help you to focus on other aspects of the festive fun. Rather than spending needless energy thinking about what you are and are not going to eat if you have a plan you can simply focus on what you are doing around the food to make the most of the holiday. So, when you have a moment, sit down and plan your meals. This way you can incorporate a balanced diet as well as enjoy your Christmas favourites. 

Young woman lying on her bed making a list or plan

  1. Think It Through

How do you want to feel on January 1st 2022? And what would stop you from achieving this?

If you want to wake up feeling a little bit smug and refreshed on January 1st next year, you could simply not have a drink on New Year’s Eve? You could make yourself a delicious meal and eat it with your family and then watch a good film. Or, if you want to have a drink, that’s ok too but be mindful about what you are drinking and aim for a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks.

By thinking through how you want to feel on January the 1st you can think about what you will eat and drink in the lead up to it. This is a powerful tool when making a plan. You can also use it when planning your meals.

  1. Focus on What You Can Control and What Matters

I have seen a wonderful graphic on social media and it really resonates with me. Make a list of what really matters to you this Christmas and what you can control and then focus on the things that fit into both.

Venn Diagram: What You Should Focus On

When it comes to healthy eating and making sure you emerge feeling refreshed, can you control drinking 2 litres of water a day for example? Going for a blast of fresh air each day. Small things that are proven to improve your physical and mental health? 

  1. Be Active Daily

Every day, do something that will move your body and keep you active. Be present in the day and get out and about. Fresh air helps to improve our concentration and focus and also helps us our well-being and mood. If it’s raining, pop on your wellies and your waterproofs and get out and about. I guarantee you it will make you feel better!

Active family outdoors in winter setting

  1. Be Kind

Not just to others but to yourself, make sure you plan in half an hour every day to do something just for you, it could be taking a nap, running a hot bath, sitting in your favourite chair, reading a book or watching a favourite film. Whatever it is, make sure you do one small thing every day simply for yourself.

  1. Ditch the Guilt

You can have a plan, you can be active and you can think it through but sometimes, all this aside we end up having that extra mince pie or chocolate. Remember, this is just human nature and if you do end up doing this remember, you can change the future but you cannot change the past.

These foods are designed to be delicious it isn’t simply a lack of willpower that led you to mince pie number 2 (or even 3!). So, be kind to yourself, simply move on and focus on your next balanced meal.

Family Christmas Meal

Don’t get stuck in the mindset of I’ve had one mince pie too many so I may as well have four more, it doesn’t work like that. These are not scarce foods. You can have them whenever you want but by having more than you need you won’t feel better, you will likely feel worse so simply have a glass of water and move on. Focus on something else but don’t focus on feeling bad about it, we all do it!

These are my top tips for a calmer Christmas but above all, take the time to focus on what you are grateful for and be kind to yourself.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.


Want to keep learning? Find more articles from Olivia Palmer - The Nutrition Activist:

Gut Health & Nutrition

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