Merry Christmas from I Love Greens!
10th December 2012
Hands up if on the opening of the first door on your advent calendar you turn into a food obsessed piggy (*hand sheepishly reaching upwards*). December is a month of over indulgence and who can blame us – there’s the endless bowls of chocolate, warming mulled wine, mince pies with brandy cream, and not forgetting the Christmas pudding – the list is endless. But there are plenty of seasonal treats are packed with goodness that will help keep up energy levels and feeling bright during this hectic time – so here are my TOP TIPS…….
Chocolate – try to pick the dark chocolate ones, the bonus being these are always the last ones left! The dark chocolate not only contains flavonoids that act as antioxidants in the body which help fight off the Christmas colds and flu but the endorphins that are released when you eat chocolate can perk you up during a wet and stressful shopping trip!
Mince pies – it’s the pastry that’s the baddie in this story. Try and choose filo pastry over puff or short crust. This lighter alternative contains about half the calories and one eighth of the fat! And what’s even better about mince pies? All that dried fruit is super high in fibre helping you to excrete all those extra toxins taken on during all that partying.
Alcohol – now it’s no secret that excessive alcohol is a big no no with links to cancer, liver damage and heart attacks, so stick to the guidelines set by the Government (3-4 units for men and 2-3 for women) and always alternate with a soft drink. However, if you’re drinking sensibly a glass of red wine might actually help increase levels of ‘good’ cholesterol which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. And if you add some fresh spices, ginger (great for fighting off the sniffles) and some grated orange to and simmer over a gentle heat you’ve got a festive mulled wine.
Turkey – let’s not forget that this time of year can be difficult for some people and it’s a time when levels of depression increase. If you’re feeling low then increasing your intake of foods like turkey may help to boost mood. Turkey contains a substance called tryptophan which is converted to the happy hormone serotonin in the body. It’s also low fat and packed with protein – helping to fill you up and resist the urge to reach for the bowl of crisps!
Cheese board – probably my favourite bit of Boxing Day! There are so many cheeses to choose from and provided you eat it in moderation there’s no reason to feel guilty about this one. Try to choose strong flavoured cheeses as this way you’ll eat less but still get all the flavour. Choose seeded and wholegrain crackers for slow release energy, add some tomatoes or cucumber, some chutney and then enjoy! Cheese contains an abundance of minerals, including calcium – required for strong teeth and bones and also zinc – essential for a healthy immune system.
Exercise – it’s hard to stick to a routine when there is so much going on so if you find yourself struggling to stay active just spend a little more time on the dance floor – 30 minutes of dancing can burn around 146 calories! And if you’re at home with the family why not get competitive on the Wii or PlayStation using the body movement sensor games like Just Dance, Wii Sports. And finally why not wrap up warm in this very seasonally chilly weather and get outside for a brisk walk – perfect to blow the cobwebs away!
So enjoy this time of year and have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year!