Staying healthy and in tip-top shape over Christmas is possible!
The holiday season is usually a time when people overindulge, especially when it comes to food. Still, no matter how festive this season is, it is not an excuse to eat all the sweets and drink all the alcoholic drinks there are. After all, many people have already been overindulging themselves throughout the year. The good news is staying healthy over Christmas is possible. Follow these simple and valuable tips to maintain overall health this holiday season.
Observe mindful eating
Mindful eating means eating slowly and savouring the flavour, aroma, and texture of the food. So, what does this have to do with being healthy? Studies have shown that eating slowly gives time for the stomach to send signals to the brain that the stomach is already full. However, when people come to holiday events, they often tend to put all the food on their plates and eat everything all at once, especially when they come on an empty stomach. So, by the time their brain tells them they are already full, they have eaten more than they should have. Mindful eating helps prevent all that.
Watch out for alcohol
Doctors do not recommend people over the age of 60 drink alcohol. For those who still do, keep in mind to avoid drinking alcohol when hungry. Alcohol can increase a person’s appetite. Also, too much consumption of alcoholic drinks lessens a person’s ability to choose the right kind and amount of food to eat, thus leading to bad eating decisions.
If alcohol cannot be avoided, drink only during special days. Lastly, if there are other alternative drinks, choose them over alcoholic drinks. Water remains the best beverage, especially for the older generation.
Making time for exercise can be a bit challenging during the holidays. However, staying active does not just mean going to the gym or doing aerobic exercises. Walking is still the simplest and easiest form of exercise. Young and older adults can benefit significantly from walking.
Try to achieve 10,000 steps a day by moving around and being active. Do not immediately sit after eating and instead, walk around the house or in the yard before settling down again. During weekends, visit shopping centres and grocery stores to burn more calories. Do household chores or play with younger children. For those who visit their relatives during the holidays, spend time outdoors by visiting the neighbourhood or going on a walking tour in popular spots instead of staying at home.
Include fruits and vegetables in the Christmas Menu
Incorporate fruits and veggies foods in the holiday menu for healthier holiday eating. For instance, rather than serving cakes and cookies during dinner, have a fresh vegetable salad as an alternative.
Adults should consume at least two servings of fruits and five servings of vegetables every day. Sadly, most Australians do not meet these requirements. As a result, they do not receive the essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre that they need to avoid chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Remember the fibre
Dietary fibre contributes to healthy digestion by feeding the good bacteria in the body. Other benefits of fibre include lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels, and aiding in healthy weight. Lastly, fibre makes one feel full, thus avoiding overeating. Adults should consume at least 25 grams of fibre daily or equivalent to 1 cup of cooked beans, 200 grams of broccoli, or 1/2 cup of leafy greens.
Aim for healthy cooking at home
Preparing and cooking meals at home contribute to one’s health. Home-cooked meals generally contain less additives, sugar, salt, and other unhealthy ingredients compared to convenience food. It is also easier to make nutritious foods at home by simply replacing unhealthy ingredients with healthier options when preparing a meal.
Sleep and rest
Celebrations during the holidays usually end up late. Make sure to get enough sleep even after staying up longer than usual. Having a good night’s sleep contributes to one’s overall health condition by lowering the risk of problems related to the heart.
Proper sleep allows one to think more clearly. It also reduces stress and helps improve one’s mood. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. On the other hand, children need more sleep hours, usually at least 8 to 10 hours each night.
Moderation in eating and drinking is the key
Most of the tips above have something to do with food. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” People who want to be healthy should start eating nutritious food. Sadly, Christmas sometimes becomes an excuse to binge, and most of the food served during the holidays are loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat.
If consuming unhealthy food cannot be stopped, remember that moderation is the key. Celebrate the holidays with family and friends but keep in mind that it is vital to make healthy choices too. So, instead of eating the delicious treats on the table all at once, focus on maintaining connections with loved ones instead. Spend time with them and not with the grazing table. Check the holiday menu to make sure that there is a healthy choice of foods available for everyone. Finally, avoid eating everything all at once by remembering to eat slowly all the time.
The tips above are just a few of the many ways of staying healthy. There are many more ways to stay fit and fabulous during Christmas and beyond, but it should all start with what the person eats.
Get advice on how to stay physically and mentally healthy and fit
If you are worried about your health and need some advice to keep healthy, especially during the holidays, we are here to provide you with support and guidance. We know that worrying about your health can get extremely stressful, which is why we are here to help you enjoy the festive season without worrying or feeling guilty about your food choices.
Contact ConnectAbility Australia, and we will help you get in touch with people who can guide you in your journey towards achieving your best and healthiest life possible. Call us on 02 4962 1000 (Warabrook) or 02 4349 3700 (Central Coast) for enquiries.