Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, your children will most likely have a couple of weeks off school over the holiday period.
We all know that spending more time at home means more snacking and less exercising. Moreover, during the Christmas season, the average Briton will gain 2.5kg – and although we’d love to blame Christianity or Coca-Cola for it, it’s really our own fault. According to some experts, the average person will consume a whopping 6,000 calories on December 25th. This is just the average person, which means that some people will eat a significantly higher amount.
Just to put it into perspective, 6,000 calories is equal to 20 McDonald’s burgers, 40 Twinkies or 109 pancakes, all in one day. I feel full just thinking about it! New Year follows close behind the festive period and people use the holiday spirit to gorge themselves, promising to get back on track on January 1st. We all know expats will be attending loads of parties, meeting new people, enjoying the new culture and of course wanting to try the typical holiday food in whichever country they live in; but there is no need to throw everything out the window.
Excuses such as the weather or the lack of will to do something are not good enough; just 30 minutes of moving every day can help lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. During the holidays you tend to have more time to move around, playing tag with your children for example is an ideal way to bond and get your daily exercise in. Don’t give up the physical activity over the holidays if you don’t want to put on a few extra kilos (and make it harder to start over afterwards).
Your eyes are bigger than your stomach
It’s normal to start piling your plate (and your children’s) with everything from the Christmas buffet or dishes on your dinner table. Some people suggest that taking a look at every food available before serving anything can help you decide what foods you really want and which you are just taking for the sake of it. Scanning the whole buffet also helps you decide how to balance your meal if you have already chosen something particularly calorific.
Don’t show up hungry
The typical scenario goes: “there will be food there, so I shouldn’t eat”. However, that is exactly what makes people stuff themselves. Before heading off to one of the many holiday parties you are sure to attend, eat a healthy snack (fruit, yogurt or granola bar) to avoid overeating once you arrive. This helps prevent the “had one too many servings” mistake. Besides, if there are no healthy foods on offer, you’ve already checked that off your list beforehand.
Avoid the leftovers
Your family had dinner at grandma’s and she is ready to send you home with 10 Tupperware boxes filled with leftover food – repeat after me: “no, thank you”. According to the founder of Foodtrainers, Lauren Slayton, leftovers are the devil; repeating the same high-calorie count just one day after stuffing yourself is not a great idea. If you have already overdone your calorie intake one night, don’t put your poor stomach through that again, especially not the very next day – give yourself a break.
Keep yourself hydrated, not just with alcohol
Ah, the joys of drinking champagne, cocktails and copious amounts of fizzy drinks over the holidays; it’s almost impossible to deny yourself such mouthwatering beverages. It’s true that both children and adults love overdoing the sugary drink intake over the break.
There is no need to say no to a glass of soda or a glass of eggnog, but limit yourself to one or two. After that you might want to stick to water, wine, light beer or unsweetened drinks. Water would be the healthiest and most beneficial choice, of course, but don’t torture yourself.
Enjoy your holidays
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, whether it’s with family, friends or strangers. Don’t count your calories and don’t worry if you get two servings of turkey with sauce. The important thing is to balance your meal with some greens and add exercise. This will be especially true for your children, who will want to sit and eat dessert all day.