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Registered Associate Nutritionist

Registered Associate Nutritionist

Blogmas- Happy Christmas!

This will be my last post of 2022, and what better way to sign off than a quick guide into healthier options during the festive period! Christmas is a time to be with family, friends or other people we call loved ones, which mean lots of food and alcohol. Unfortunately within this, there are some foods and all alcohol which are not the best options to stay healthy. The good part is that we can choose healthier options and still enjoy a fantastic Christmas. So let me not delay share my hints and tips that I hope can help you have a fun Christmas, without adding to our waistlines!

Breakfast- As I have mentioned in my post which I will link here: Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as we not eaten for over 12 hours, so we need to really consume food as soon as we wake up. Ideally a low sugar cereal, packed full of Fibre is best, for example oats. But if you do not like oats, another great option is Bran Flakes, Weetabix, or seeded bread. If you tend to have other cereals which I have not mentioned be aware to check the labels that it is low in sugar and saturated fat. 

Now we come to the mid morning snack, this is the time the biscuits make an appearance, and would make a great compliment with a cup of tea. In one of my posts I mentioned that biscuits were suitable, and to go for low sugar options, more about this on this link here: Biscuits

Rich Tea biscuits or gingernuts are a better option, as they tend to contain a low amount of sugar, in comparison to the other popular ones. However that does not mean we should have 15 of them! we still should manage the amount we have of these, and also we have the main Christmas meal to consume within the next few hours, and so we need to be mindful of the amount of biscuits we have. A great alternative is also plain nuts with no salt or sugar. Any nuts will do like almonds, cashew, pistachios or even brazil nuts. These contains fibre, which helps with the bowel, essential fatty acids which is not made by the body, and needs to be found in food, and protein for building and repairing new cells. This is also a time where alcohol consumption is in full swing, more about this shortly. 

Now we have arrived at the main event, the Christmas meal!. This is usually Turkey, however for vegetarians or vegans this can be a nut roast. Both options are great. Nut roast contains Protein, Fibre and Fat. We need fat as it helps to provide us with energy, protect our organs, and to help absorb the Vitamins A, D, E and K.  Turkey similar to nut roast contains protein, however turkey is low in fat, in particular saturated fat. It contains the vitamin B3, which helps to keep the skin, nervous and digestive system healthy. Turkey also contains the minerals selenium and zinc. Both minerals helps produce DNA, and fight off infections, and help to improve our immune system. 

Christmas dinner is not without all the vegetables right? I have mentioned plenty of times the importance of having a wide variety of vegetables. So I am not going to discuss all the nutritional benefits of these, you can have a look at my previous post about this on here: Christmas Dinner 

However I am going to discuss one particular vegetable that receives a lot of negativity I am afraid, and that is Brussel Sprouts. Now personally I am also not a fan of these but I am very much aware that Brussel Sprouts really packs a punch when it comes to their nutritional qualities. First off Brussel sprouts are low in fat, which makes a great option if you are watching your waistline, so feel free to have plenty of these, as they are rich in Fibre. They also contain Vitamin A, which helps to improve our vision at nightime, and help to improve our immune system. They are also rich in folate. Folate is part of the Vitamin B family, which aids to produce red and white blood cells, to supply the organs with nutrients that are required to help us stay alive. They are also important for women that are expecting, as folate helps to reduce neural birth defects of the brain and spine. Sprouts are also rich in Vitamin C, which works with Vitamin A to help improve our immune system. To finally add to the Christmas Meal is the potatoes. Potatoes are also a fantastic vegetable packed with a range of nutritional benefits so here goes. They are of course rich in carbohydrates, which contains energy. We need this to constantly move around, 24 hours a day. Even when we are sleeping, we are burning off calories, so carbohydrates are an important nutrient for our bodies on a daily basis. Potatoes also contains vitamin C, again helps to improve the immune system, but they also contains potassium, which helps to make sure the heart, muscles and the nervous system are in working order. Sweet potato would make a better alternative to King Edward or Maris Piper, as Sweet Potato contains more fibre. So after the big Christmas meal is the desert. No matter which desert you are having try not to have a massive portion. Watching the portion size when consuming a high sugar meal is important, however I am aware that it is Christmas and this cannot be resisted. 

Let us now go to the big finale which is the alcohol. I am sure you are all aware that alcohol contains empty calories, and has zero (yes zero) nutritional benefits. So my advice would be to try and have less of the alcohol as much as possible, which again is really hard during Christmas. So here is my guide into alcohol:

The main part which we can all do is to consume water when having an alcoholic drink, alternate alcohol with water every time, to try and keep us hydrated. Alcohol unfortunately can cause dehydration (leading to hangovers) so staying hydrated is important. Back to portions, and this is no exception when it comes to alochol. So opt for a small glass (125ml) rather than a large glass (250ml) as this contains less sugar and less calories. 
When mixing drinks try to opt for low sugar/low calorie soft drinks. For example rum with diet coke would be less calories and sugar then rum with full sugar coke. Another example is white wine spritzer with lots of ice. 
For beer drinkers opt for bottles rather than pints, as pints are larger, which means contains more sugar and calories. Overall spirits contains the least amount of calories, this is because this has to be consumed with a soft drink, and we can control the soft drink we have. The best spirits with the least amount of calories is Gin with Tonic Water. If like myself and not a fan of gin below are a list of other alternatives that might interest you: 
  • Vodka and Diet Coke
  • Barcardi and Diet Coke
  • Small glass of Blossom Hill
  • Small glass of Prosecco
  • Vodka with Diet Coke
  • Small glass of Champagne

Overall why not skip the alcohol and go for alcohol free drinks instead? There are loads of alcoholic free drinks available, which tastes exactly like the alcoholic drinks, but without the alcohol actually in them! 

So there you have it, I hope this was helpful in providing great hints and tips to have a healthy happy Christmas. I just want to take this opportunity to say many thanks for taking the time to have a look at my blog over the past 12 months. I hope you found this helpful, and I sure am will be continuing to share my ideas well into 2023. So in the meantime have a Happy Christmas and Have a a Fab New Year!  



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