Nutritional therapist and naturopath Caroline Peyton shares tips about eating sensibly over Christmas. Caroline helps people with a range of issues, is a specialist in gut health and runs a Facebook group for women over 35 to live healthier lives
By nutritional therapist Caroline Peyton of Peyton Principles. Caroline runs clinics in Swindon and the Cotswolds and her business celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
It is that time of year when all notion of healthy eating often goes out of the window. And even if we spend all year focused on following a healthy diet all our good intentions seem to fail as soon as the chocolate tin appears.
Invariably we start the New Year wondering why our will power failed us and how is it possible to gain half a stone in just a week?
The good news is that it does not have to be all about willpower and it does not have to result in gaining so much weight that it seems to be a real battle to ditch it in January.
If you do not want to be missing out on the festive fun but want to retain some control over your eating habits these are my suggestions:
- Start the day with breakfast. It is a mistake to avoid breakfast as it just results in over eating crisps, peanuts and whatever other snacks you have for the special occasion, late morning.
- When choosing breakfast include protein like scrambled eggs, smoked salmon or a special cheese. The protein really does keep you fuller for longer (and will help you to start on snacks later rather than earlier in the day).
- Do not consume large amounts of starchy carbohydrates like croissants, toast and cereal. Just as protein keeps you full, starchy carbohydrates on the other hand cause a quick sugar rush but then leave you empty and reaching for those snacks you’re trying to avoid. It is the starchy carbohydrates (and sugar) that causes weight gain.
- The same rules apply to your main Christmas dinner. Put the vegetables and turkey on your plate first and then add some roast potatoes. Just ask yourself do you need five potatoes, maybe two or three will do!
- Try and encourage a pause between the main course and pudding and/or chocolates. It is a great time to play some games. This allows your brain to recognise how full your stomach is so you are less likely to over eat the sweet treats.
- What to do about the chocolate tins?! There is a temptation to have so many chocolates in the house that everyone just goes mad. But if there are fewer to start with it will hopefully encourage some constraint.
- Choose unsalted plain nuts rather than peanuts. These contain good healthy fats that we need.
- When choosing alcohol, wine, champagne and spirits contain less calories than beer, cocktails and liqueurs (especially the cream varieties). Aim to intersperse with water to stay hydrated.
- Try to include some walks over the Christmas period. Even getting out of the house for a short spell to keep moving is better than slouching on the sofa for days. Why not incorporate an active game into your day rather than just seated ones.
When the Christmas festivities are behind us and you have gained a few pounds, do not worry. Christmas is a special time to socialise with friends and family – especially this year- and that should mean enjoying your meals and having a few drinks. It’s a once a year occasion.
Caroline Peyton’s Facebook group can be found here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthlifestylenutrition/