Staying healthy over the festive season

It can feel like a huge challenge to stay healthy over the festive period, and while it’s really important to allow yourself time to relax and enjoy yourself, you don’t need to completely undo all of your hard work either. Here are some simple tips to help you reach January feeling your best self!

When planning what to eat for the day, try to factor in your meal out first. If you aren’t sure what you will be eating then it is best to save a good portion of each macronutrient. If you are wanting to go all out then there are a few strategies to help you have up some extra calories:

Reduce your calorie intake earlier in the day by drinking protein shakes or eating small servings of lean protein with low calorie salads/vegetables. This will help to keep you feeling full and allow you to save more carbs and fat macros for the meal out.
Utilise fasting for a period of the day. This can decrease the window of eating, allowing more calories to be saved.
Add in an extra training session or some cardio on the day of, or day after your party/event. It is important however to not turn this into a habit as it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you have the option of choosing what you will eat, choose something that it easy to track. Break it down into a basic ingredients list or search for something similar using the MyFitnessPal database. Remember, it is always better to track something than to track nothing at all. Also, it is better to overestimate the serving size than to underestimate from a calorie perspective. This gets easier with time and the more experience you have measuring portions at home, you will become more accurate at estimating the portions when eating food you haven’t prepared and weighed.

Be conscious of the calories you are consuming, and find ways you can make your choice a little less calorie dense. Think about leaner protein sources, less calorie dense carbs, and reducing fat where possible. Another way to reduce the caloric total of your meal is to avoid/limit sauces and dressings.

Drinking is often a big part of eating out, but a few alcoholic beverages can take out a large amount of your daily calories. Alcohol is classified as a carbohydrate and is 7 calories per gram, so be aware of this and how quickly they can add up. Try and stick to a limit, alternate your alcoholic drinks with water and drink slowly.

Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger so make sure you are constantly sipping on water throughout the day, especially before and during Christmas parties! Making an effort to drink more water on days after you have eaten high carb or high sodium foods will also help to minimise fluid retention.

Try to keep up with your normal training routine as much a possible throughout the festive period. If you don’t have access to a gym, then mix it up with some body weight circuits or cardio to get your heart rate up and burn some calories. Getting friends and family involved always helps to keep you accountable and keeps motivation high!