Everyone knows healthy living is about moderation ... which means it's ok to go a bit silly in the silly season! Nevertheless, the combination of constant temptation (cheers! have another!), tiredness and eating out a lot can make Christmas and New Year a tricky time to maintain basic self-care. Planning ahead is the key to finding a fun, relaxing balance between your usual routine and the hectic social schedule that tends to take over around this time of year. If you want to head into 2018 feeling fresh, light and energised, check out our ten silly season hacks...
FOOD PREP. More social engagements throughout December and early January means less time for cooking and prepping. Take a look at your schedule and find a two or three hour window to fill up your pantry and do a bit of a cook up. Write a list before you shop so you make the most of your limited time. If you’re eating out a lot during the week, freeze portions from your cook ups for easy, quick meals later on.
MAP YOUR CLEAN FAST FOOD ROUTE. Get to know your options for clean food on the go. Support small businesses like Nourish and Feed healthy drive thru in Duncraig or any number of other independent shops with clean food takeaway options (we like The Tenth State, The Clean Food Store, Kirkwood Deli and Toms Deli). Even a burrito bowl is a decent option. Fast food doesn’t have to be crap if you plan the stop off as part of your route from one thing to the next.
PACK A SNACK. Don’t let yourself get over hungry, or you’ll be more likely to hoover up all the canapes. Carry high protein, high fat snacks with you to keep your body fuelled with the right stuff and help you make the right choices - same idea as 'don’t go shopping on an empty stomach'. A small bag of nuts or a paleo bar are easy options that will keep for ages if you forget about them at the bottom of your bag.
MAKE BREAKFAST BEFORE BED. Make breakfast the night before so you can grab and go in the morning. Chia pots or soaked oats refrigerate well, and if even that is too much effort, try simple combos that require zero prep, such as a piece of Honest Goods Co. Paleo/vegan bread with a piece of fruit.
THE ‘I CAN’T BE BOTHERED’ EMERGENCY MEAL KIT. No time to cook dinner? Paleo pumpkin bread from the freezer with avo takes about three minutes to prepare and has good nutritional value. Keep basics like carrots, cucumber, hummus and crackers on hand for an impromptu mezze plate.
IT’S OK TO SAY NO. You’ll always be offered more champagne, extra dessert, canapes galore. If you’ve had enough, let the plate pass you by. You don’t have to eat or drink to be polite, your company is what people want.
ASK QUESTIONS, BRING A PLATE. This time of year, we’re often eating out or eating food prepared by others. If you have allergies or special dietary requirements, it’s polite to let your host know ahead of time and offer to bring a plate. That way, your host doesn’t have to freak out about preparing food for 20 different diets, and you will definitely have food you can eat. If you’re at a restaurant or an event with catering, there’s no need to be embarrassed into eating foods that don’t work for you. When the waiter has a moment, discreetly ask them to clarify whether the dish is appropriate for you and, if it’s not, ask their recommendation for a more suitable option.
GO WITH THE FLOW. Accept that you might not have time to exercise as much as usual, and that’s ok. You might be eating dessert more than you usually do. Also ok. Try to enjoy it instead of fretting, and focus on the pleasure of sharing food with family and friends.
PACE YOURSELF. Drink water! Space your drinks! Know your limits and schedule in downtime here and there if you know you need it.
HEALTHIFY YOUR FAVOURITE DISHES. Christmas classics are often overly rich and sugary. Consider healthifying some of your Christmas mains and desserts this year so you can literally have your cake and eat it too. Some great resources include this collection of I Quit Sugar recipes, Jessica Sepel's Raw Christmas Bark and Spiced Tahini Shortbread, and this collection of vegan recipes by The Minimalist Baker.