With the Christmas party season now in full swing, your social life may be brimming but the associated over-indulgences of rich, sugary foods and alcohol will leave your body feeling more than a little worse for wear. Whether you’re looking to avoid those dreaded hangovers, piling on the pounds, preventing the bloat or just want to keep energy levels high, Nairn’s ambassador and nutritionist Christine Bailey offers some healthy tips to help you survive the festive celebrations.
Despite everyone’s best intentions, the festive season is full of temptations – whether it’s the office party, a friend’s buffet or a family meal out it’s easy to blow those calories and end up feeling heavy and bloated. We consume, on average, a whopping 6-7,000 calories over the course of Christmas Day alone – that’s four times a woman's daily recommended intake and more than three times a man's. It’s no wonder that on average people gain about 5lbs over the festive season. So, this year follow these top tips from our ambassador and nutritionist Christine Bailey and you’ll start the New Year feeling better than ever!
If you have a meal out or a party ahead don’t starve yourself – you’ll end up over-eating on high fat buffet snacks. Keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and keep a few healthy snacks with you to keep you going. A small pack of oatcakes are easy, portable and full of slow release complex carbohydrates to keep those hunger pangs at bay. Try cheese oatcakes on their own or top a rough oatcake with hummus or low fat cream cheese.
Bowls of peanuts, crisps and fried snacks from the buffet table may be tempting but they are ladened with calories and fat. If you’re the one in charge of the snacks bring some healthier options. Snackers are a fabulous alternative, made with oats and baked rather than fried, they are a lighter alternative to crisps and delicious dipped in hummus or fresh homemade salmon pate. Just 15 Pringles contain 150 kcal and 9g of fat while a bag of cheese Snackers contains just 103 kcal and 3.7g fat and are sure to satisfy, helping you feel fuller for longer and keeping you away from the buffet table!
Working, partying and catching up with friends and family can be exhausting. This is the time of year when our energy levels can flag so make sure you nourish your body with energising nutrients. Vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc and antioxidants are all important. Vitamin C, for example, is important for tackling stress. Large amounts are found in the adrenal glands and greatly reduce under stress – it is also an important powerful antioxidant for immune support. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, red pepper, kiwi fruit, leafy greens and berries. Top sources of magnesium include seeds, leafy greens, beans and pulses and oats. Before you leave the house why not really pack a punch by topping rough oatcakes with Cannellini Beans and Salsa Verde, a tasty combination that will give you a well needed natural boost of energy to keep you on the dance floor all night.
For many people piling your plate with pasta, bread and pastries can lead to uncomfortable bloating. Gluten found in wheat, barley and rye as well as foods containing them, may be to blame and cutting these out can help you feel lighter and leaner in that Christmas party dress. If you’re missing the comfort of carbs why not switch to oatcakes instead – oats are the perfect wheat free option, wholesome, nutritious and satisfying they are high in soluble fibre to help you curb your cravings and minimise that dreaded bloat!
Excessive alcohol can diminish carbohydrate levels and deplete magnesium and B vitamins. The best option after a big night is bananas. They’re a useful source of B6 and magnesium. Top oatcakes with banana for an extra crunch – the perfect remedy to perk you up the morning after the night before.
If you’re up to it – serve up scrambled eggs and with oatcakes. Eggs contain an amino acid called N acetyl cysteine - one of the building blocks of a potent antioxidant called glutathione which is important in ridding the body of the toxins from alcohol. The combination of the slow releasing carbohydrates from oatcakes and the protein from the eggs will also help support energy levels through the morning. Alcohol depletes many nutrients in the body particularly B vitamins. Eggs provide B vitamins but for an extra boost you could also pile some smoked salmon or spread nut butter on your oatcakes for an alternative energising snack.
We hope these top tips help you to have a happy, health festive season.