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Essential tips for a healthy Christmas

Ensure you make the most of the festive season.   2011-12-05

Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time, when we get together with family and friends. But if we overeat and drink in excess the party season can also be unkind to our health.  With families confined to the house, over excited children and pets, decorations to complete, presents to wrap and food to prepare, it is not surprising that Christmas can be stressful.

The following tips might help you have a healthy and enjoyable Christmas:

Enjoy your meals

  • Avoid overeating by having small portions, particularly where it concerns calorie-rich foods such as roast potatoes, Christmas pudding and desserts. Drinking water before the Christmas meal will fill you up quicker, lessening the tendency to overeat.
  • Try to eat the Christmas dinner slowly, as this will make your brain trigger the feeling of fullness.
  • Observe basic hygiene rules to avoid the risk of food poisoning or other unpleasant effects of cross contamination by washing your hands before handling food, cleaning kitchen surfaces, chopping boards and utensils properly, storing and cooking meat thoroughly.

Drink sensibly

  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Know your limits to avoid not only a hangover but getting on the wrong side of the law. It is safer not to drink at all before driving.
  • Drink slowly or take smaller drinks.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water.

Enjoy some exercise

  • Exercise  makes us feel better physically and mentally,  is believed to lower blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, as well as having a positive effect on our mood and our energy levels.
  • Consider going for brisk walks instead of spending long periods of time in front of the television. Walking slowly at 2mph is thought to burn about 100 calories in about half an hour.

Minimise/deal with stress

  • Try to plan ahead to avoid last minute panic.
  • Budget according to your finances. Avoid getting pressurized into spending too much.
  • Do not be hard on yourself if you are feeling down or feel ill. Seek help and support from friends and family if necessary and be supportive and understanding of others who might be affected in that way.
  • Make an effort not to give in to demands of relatives and find some time to relax despite the festivities.

Stay safe

  • Take care in the kitchen and use suitable protection to avoid burns and cuts. Never leave cooking or candles unattended. Keep children out of the kitchen
  • Be careful when decorating the Christmas tree and when putting up lights. Use suitable steps or ladders. 
  • Minimise the risk of electric shock by using Christmas lights and other electrical appliances with a safety certification.  Follow basic safety procedures such as disconnecting the electricity supply when changing bulbs on Christmas lights and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep seasonal plants away from children and pets.  Mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettia can be toxic if ingested.
  • Alcohol often plays a major part in accidents as it affects your judgment and concentration and makes you feel inappropriately overconfident.  Keep alcohol out of the reach of children. Do not drink and drive.