Croí Dietitian Tips for a healthy Festive Season!

by Croí's lead dietitian, Suzanne Seery

Be Consistent in Your Eating Habits
Maintaining a regular meal pattern throughout the festive season can help prevent over-eating at meal times or snacking. By sticking to regular meals, you can enjoy a few treats and achieve a healthy balance.

“All foods fit, it’s the portion size that matters!”
A healthy relationship with food comes from being less restrictive and enjoying all food groups. You can enjoy larger portions of healthy foods while still being able to enjoy smaller portions of the treats you love.

Combat Stress with Good Mood Food
As much as we love Christmas, it can be a stressful time. Eating your veggies is key in helping manage stress and helping your immune system fight off the dreaded cold and flu! Vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins can be depleted with stress. Vegetables that are in plenty supply over Christmas such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are a super source of these nutrients.

Less Sugar & More Spice
Replace some of the sugar you eat with traditional Christmas spices for fabulous flavour and some can even help soothe digestive upsets such as ginger & cinnamon.

Be Mindful in Your Eating
This is the perfect time of year to practice mindful eating. With all the work that goes into preparing meals at Christmas, once you are sitting at the table, take a moment to slow down and relax. Take a breath, enjoy the sensation of the food in your mouth. Slowly chew each mouthful savouring the flavour and texture. Slowing our eating has been clinically proven to help prevent over-eating and indigestion.

Go Easy on the Alcohol
Although it may make us feel a bit merry at the time, alcohol can affect our skin, cause bloating and bloodshot eyes. It can also affect our mood and mental health.  Try adding some sparkling water to your wine to make a spritzer, choose bottles of beer and lower alcohol options instead of pints. Watch those Christmas cocktails too, they can be very high in sugar. Choose slimline tonic or sparking water as a mixer. Alternating with a tall glass of sparkling water with ice and some citrus slices can be just as refreshing and enjoyable!

Beware of the Buffet
Christmas parties bring with them platters of plenty. If heading out for a Christmas event, try and stick to your routine during the day as much as possible and have a light snack or meal beforehand. This will help curb your intake of  high fat, sugar and salt snacks that are usually served up this time of year. Have a little of what you fancy and enjoy it!

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The party season can be exhausting and if we are tired and low in energy, it can be so much easier to be less active and indulge in the high sugar and high fat foods. Ensure you are getting enough sleep to enable your body to fully recharge so it is ready to rumble again the next day.

Show off Your Christmas Moves
Whether it’s getting out for a walk, taking a dip or going for a bike ride, make time for some exercise over the Christmas. Going for a walk in a local park is a great way to catch up with friends! Now is also a good time to set yourself an exercise challenge for the New Year. Fun runs are great events to get involved in. Your local county Sports partnerships website should provide details of sporting events in your area.

Looking for an activity to take part in over the Christmas? Why not join Croí Friends in Annaghdown for their Annual St. Stephen’s Day Turkey Fun Run!

Healthy Christmas swaps!

Swap:

  • 50g creamy/cheesy dips for 50g salsa (Saving 13g fat, 111kcal)
  • 1 large (70g) chicken goujon for 2 mini chicken satay skewers (Saving 6g fat, 137kcal)
  • 2 small sausage rolls for 2 cocktail sausages (Saving 1g fat, 24kcal)
  • 1 (50g) vegetable samosa for 1 ball (17g) of falafel (Saving 2.5g fat, 61kcal)
  • 2 cheese straws for 1 large breadstick (Saving 6g fat, 75kcal)
  • 25g crackers for 25g of vegetable sticks (Saving 5g fat, 110kcal)
  • 30g Stilton cheese for 30g goat’s cheese (Saving 4g fat, 67kcal)
  • 100g sausage stuffing for 100g chestnut/fruit based stuffing (Saving 15.2g Fat, 90kcal)
  • 100g roast potatoes for 100g Boiled Potatoes (Saving 4.4g Fat, 40kcal)
  • 1tbsp brandy butter for 3tbsp low fat custard (Saving 5.2g fat, 54kcal)
  • 2tbsp double cream for 2tbsp Greek yoghurt (Saving 14.2g Fat, 117kcal)
  • Luxury bread sauce for bread sauce made with semi-skimmed milk (Saving 262kcal)
  • 1 tsp butter/oil on vegetables for herbs/spices/lemon zest to flavour vegetables (Saving 4.1g fat, 37kcal)
  • 150ml Bailey’s for 150ml white wine (Saving 19g fat, 340kcal)
  • 200ml hot chocolate with whole milk & cream for 200ml Hot Chocolate with semi-skimmed milk & mini marshmallows (Saving 9g fat, 42kcal)
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