Have yourself a guilt-free Christmas

By Sarah Noone Nutrition News   |   19th Dec 2019

Our expert dietitian Sarah Noone says the most important thing this Christmas is to have fun

Christmas comes just once a year so, put into perspective, a couple of days of indulging at Christmas over the course of the year is not going to make a huge difference as it is what your diet looks like overall that is most important.

Have fun this Christmas and if you do indulge, then do so without the guilt as feeling anxious and guilty about food is not beneficial. You can always rebalance your diet again after Christmas.

Keep it Balanced
Although of course we will be enjoying festive foods (and guilt free for that matter) try to keep your meals balanced and include lots of fruit and vegetables along with lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats in appropriate portions.

Go Easy on the Alcohol
When it comes to alcohol, less is more which can be a challenge over the festive period. If you do drink it is important to try to drink no more than 17 standard drinks a week if you’re a man and 11 standard drinks a week if you’re a women, with at least three alcohol free days a week to allow your liver to recover and repair.

One standard drink is the equivalent of a small glass (100ml) of wine, 1/2 a pint of beer or a pub measure of spirits. Alcohol in addition to being high in calories can also give us the munchies because when we drink our liver is busy dealing with the alcohol, so it stops releasing glucose (energy) into the blood therefore we feel hungrier. Check out askaboutalcohol.ie for more information and tips.

Get outdoors
Why not take to the hills, coast or woodlands to enjoy one of our Slí na Sláinte walking routes, partake in an organised supportive activity like Parkrun or walk around your local Christmas market. Not only can physical activity help boost your feel-good hormones (endorphins) but it also increases your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) and is also vital for your heart health.

Catch up on Lost Sleep
Sleep is so important particularly for our mental and physical health. The Christmas period can be a great time to catch up on lost sleep. We all need about 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night. To enhance your sleep over the Christmas period things like avoiding screens/technology and caffeine late in the evening, trying to limit alcohol consumption which disrupts our sleep and getting in regular physical activity can all help.

Have a lovely Christmas everyone and don’t forget to have fun.


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