It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
By now you’ve most likely begun to experience the crazy busy festive lead up to Christmas! Christmas parties, summer festivals and activities, and the weather we’ve all been waiting for after a cold winter makes this a wonderfully social time of the year. And it’s great! It should be enjoyed and embraced in a way that nourishes your body and aligns with your intentions and goals.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
The festive season presents a new set of challenges when it comes to how you choose to consume food and drink. As the festive season likely brings more social occasions, it can be difficult to consume in a way that nourishes your body. This can be because of what’s available or on offer and also social expectation. Social occasions can offer tempting snacks and drinks such as chips and alcoholic beverages to complement the experience. It can be hard to stay controlled with the bottle of wine and chippy bowl towering over you. You must choose nourishment and plan accordingly.
Some top tips to manage your nourishment this festive season:
No doubt there will most likely be some alcohol at those Christmas parties as well as other times throughout the festive season. Alcohol contains more energy, per gram, than protein and carbohydrates. One gram of alcohol contains 29 kilojoules of energy and offers little nutritional value in comparison. Set yourself some boundaries, how many glasses of wine will you have at this year’s Christmas party?
Over time, our consumption of sugar has greatly increased. This is mostly due to added sugars in soft drinks and processed junk foods. Check the sugar content of your snack or fizzy drink by looking at the nutrition information panel (NIP) on the label. Divide the sugar content of your serving size by 4g to understand how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming. This is a meaningful way of understanding and registering just how much sugar you are consuming. It may shock you and inspire you to look for different snack options!
Salt contains sodium which is required in small amounts by the body. Too much salt is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other conditions too. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium for men and women of 19 years of age or older is 920-2300mg/ day. Check the sodium content of your snacks by looking at the NIP and see how it compares to the RDI. Is there a better option?
Mindful eating and drinking is when we take the time to look, smell, taste, properly chew and focus on what we are consuming. It is taking the time to notice texture, mouthfeel and sensation. How often do you eat and drink like this? When we eat mindfully, we bring greater awareness to the food we are putting in our mouths and are likely to consume less food than if we eat mindlessly. Social situations can lead to mindless eating. Consider how this may or may not be applicable to you and bring mindfulness to your patterns of consumption through this festive season.
Poor quality carbs
Poor quality, highly processed carbohydrates are stripped of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They seem so enjoyable but they spike your blood sugar, don’t leave you all that satisfied and provide little real nourishment to fuel your body. Choose carbohydrates that are whole, minimally processed and as close to their natural state as possible. A basic comparison is white bread vs whole grain bread. Where can you change the quality of the carbohydrates in your life?
Remember other sources of nourishment in your life. Don’t forget to make time for keeping active. Schedule it into your diary to make it happen. Consider how you will make time for yourself to rest, practice self-care and remove stress through this busy time. After all, it should be a time of enjoyment.
Make some decisions right now. How will you be kind to your body and nourish yourself this Christmas?
Wishing you a wonderfully Merry Christmas!