It’s been said that it’s not what you do between Christmas and New Year that counts, but rather what you do between New Year and Christmas.
There is plenty of truth to that, but there is also the possibility of overloading the body in a short period of time, with too much of the wrong stuff. This can leave you feeling flat, as well as bringing on colds, flus and low energy come January, something you may be keen to avoid.
Most likely, post-Christmas slumps are a case of blood sugar overload, where sugary and starchy foods or drinks, coupled with a shortage of physical activity, cause blood sugar levels to soar and push the hormones that regulate blood sugar out of balance. This can really leave you feeling sluggish and tired.
So, surviving Christmas while still feeling good is a lot about managing your blood sugar. Here are some ideas as to how to do that.
Include some low-sugar meals. There’s temptation all around at Christmas and sugar is everywhere. If you are going to have some treats (and who isn’t…) it’s wise to build in some low-sugar meals to your schedule. Keep the treats for after meals and not as a substitute for them. At least two good meals a day will help to keep you nourished and should at a minimum include some vegetables and protein.
Here are some good, low-sugar, breakfast options:
Grilled tomato with scrambled eggs
Turkey/ham & mushroom omelette
Berries and avocado with smoked salmon or mackerel
Turkey rashers with scrambled eggs
Rather than going for the typical turkey and stuffing sandwich for lunch or dinner, here are a few other options to make use of the leftover turkey and ham:-
Turkey & ham omelette
Turkey with fried onions
Turkey curry with bell peppers and mushrooms
Caesar salad, with turkey in place of chicken and ham in place of bacon pieces.
How you start your day is important ….very important! Above all, start the day with something low-sugar, and preferably raw. Think citrus or other fruit, berries, raw juice or smoothies, combined with a protein source like good-quality yoghurt, smoked salmon or organic eggs. This gives your body the best start to the day. A related point is to avoid sugary breakfast cereals like the plague – high in sugar and lacking in quality nutrients. Having a good breakfast helps to prevent picking and looking for treats later…or at least until you want to have them!
Move every day. Movement uses up blood sugar and also improves the body’s ability to direct sugar into muscles, where it can be used for energy rather than being directed into our fat stores. If you are going to be sitting a lot, go for an hour of continuous activity at least once every day. Walking is fine, but do any activity that you find enjoyable. A little vigorous activity can also be great for getting blood sugar levels under control. Try running up your stairs a few times, or while out on a walk, move as fast as you can for a few, short periods. If you are new to this, take it in short bursts of activity, like 30 seconds at a time during your walk.
Limit sugar around sleep. Ideally don’t eat anything, but especially avoid sweet or starchy foods, too close to bed. If anything, look for protein before bed – some turkey, ham, cheese, yogurt, nuts etc.
Drink plenty of water. This helps to dilute any sugar intake and also helps your body to deal with alcohol. Endeavour to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks – helps to prevent overload on the system and can reduce the dreaded hangover.
Buying treats. If they are in the house, they’ll be eaten! Temptation will be all around. Be selective about stocking up on treats. It would be worth considering reducing the number of treats you buy and spend a little extra on a select few quality treats – going for quality over quantity. Combining the above with a good breakfast and plenty of movement, you should be able to bask in festivities, movies, and enjoyment of the season without feeling like a stuffed Christmas turkey.
Conor Dolan, Director of Pure Wellbeing
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