Christmas is a time for enjoying festive food with friends and family. However, festive meals don't necessarily have to be unhealthy. The traditional Christmas dinner featuring turkey, potatoes, and vegetables is actually a very nutritious meal. Adding a small dessert to the meal is perfectly fine. Yet, indulging excessively in junk food can impact mood, sleep, and energy levels, potentially diminishing the festive experience and making it less enjoyable. So here is our 5 tips to a Happy, Healthy Christmas Holiday.
1 Eat regular meals
Stick to your family's normal meal times. When blood sugar drops, symptomes like anger, irritability and mood swings can occur. If there's too much time between meals, both children and adults can become grumpy.
2 Ensure balanced meals
To maintain stable blood sugar, energy levels, and mood, it's crucial to have balanced meals! A balanced meal consists of three parts:
1/3 should be fresh protein and fat, essential building blocks for the body and brain. For instance, turkey for Christmas dinner or boiled eggs and cheese for a buffet.
Another 1/3 should comprise fruits and vegetables. Be mindful not to overindulge in fruit, as it can affect blood sugar and mood. More vegetables and less fruit is a good rule, whether it’s Christmas or not!
The final 1/3 can be starchy food, like potatoes for your Christmas dinner or some fresh bread rolls for your buffet table. Balanced meals need to be made from natural ingredients, avoiding ultra-processed foods. Keep sugar to a minimum. A small dessert after a balanced meal is okay, but replacing a meal with a buffet full of ultra-processed and sugary foods could lead to mood swings.
3 Be cautious of "superfoods"
During this time, you'll likely come across enticing images of "superfoods." While aiming for healthy food that tastes great, replacing sugar with lots of dates or soda with 100% fruit juice, it's important to remember that natural "superfoods" contain natural chemicals like salicylates, amines, and oxalates. Excessive intake of these chemicals can lead to symptoms like mood swings, sleep issues, and headaches. The best approach for a happy and healthy Christmas is to prepare delicious, balanced meals and reserve sweet treats for occasional consumption. Be aware that too much dark chocolate, coconut, dates, juice, or fruit are high in natural chemicals and can trigger mood swings!
4 Spend time outside in the fresh air
Fresh air and exercise are crucial for everyone. Consider organizing a football match with friends, going for a walk in the hills, or splashing in puddles in the rain! Being outdoors, whether in the sun or rain, promotes feelings of happiness and wellness.
5 Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep is vital for a good mood. When sleep-deprived, we tend to feel more irritable and moody. Sleep deprivation can also lead to cravings for sugar and starch, which can negatively impact blood sugar levels. Ensuring enough sleep is excellent advice for a healthy, happy Christmas.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Holiday!