Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you are enjoying a fun and festive ‘silly season’.

I’m not the type of dietitian that’s here to preach to you about avoiding a second helping of Christmas pudding or make you feel guilty about finishing off a box of chocolates in the office today. You can read about that in any December magazine or hear it from your local virtuous fitness fanatic. I love my food as much as the rest of you.

Instead, I’d like to share some of my tips on how to enjoy this crazy lead up to Christmas and the New Year without that guilty hangover that’s sure to ruin your holiday.

1.    Eat and drink foods you really like

Don’t waste your energy on drinking an average glass of wine, a plain-tasting compound chocolate or a greasy canapé. Instead, save up and enjoy foods and alcohol you really love and appreciate, whether they’re healthy or not. Eat and drink them slowly and savour every mouthful.

2.    Relax and go with the flow

Setting yourself unrealistic expectations during such a tempting holiday period usually ends in disaster. Instead, set an achievable, positive and useful goal such as ‘I will drink 3 glasses of water tonight’. You will really praise yourself for achieving it and it will help with the sore head the next day.

3.    Enjoy Christmas festivities that don’t revolve around eating and drinking

Invest time and energy into visiting the local Christmas lights, attending carols, decorating your house with homemade decorations and spending quality time with your loved ones rather than eating your way through the season.

4.    Eat fruit and drink water

It may sound obvious but if you focus on things you should do rather than things you shouldn’t this holiday season, it will make it easier to stay on track. Before you go out, drink plenty of water and snack on fruit, some nuts or a yoghurt to ensure you don’t arrive at a party starving and thirsty. Hopefully, this will slow down your drinking and your snacking.

5.    Get over it!

If you do over-indulge (let’s face it, most of us will at some stage), don’t dwell on it because this is often the start of the downward spiral. Think of something positive you can do to make up for it, such as go for a walk or eat lots of veggies, and then move on.

Happy Holidays everyone and please, enjoy a French champagne and some freshly shucked oysters for me!

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