Yes most of us eat and drink too much on Christmas Day and on other days in the festive season! Well it is a time to enjoy food, family and friends and give and receive. But often we can feel fatigued, stressed and stuffed over the festive period. Here are some tips and suggestions to help this time of overconsumption.

Enjoy the special meal on Christmas Day and feel virtuous at the same time by recognizing some of the healthy properties of the foods you eat! Winter warming soups such as vegetable broths or sweet potato and ginger are bursting with vitamins and minerals. Prawns, avocado and melon all have great nutrition such as essential fats, zinc and potassium. Turkey the traditional meat is a good source of low fat protein and tryptophan (an amino acid) which is converted into serotonin – our happy and relaxing chemical.

Cranberry sauce adds a nice flavour and is rich in antioxidants which may support for example heart health. The veg such as parsnips, carrots, broccoli and Brussel Sprouts are great for topping up your veg intake! Try adding some chestnuts or bacon to spice up your Sprouts. Pack your Christmas Pudding full of fruit or just enjoy a lighter fruit salad bursting with goodness. Healthy nibbles can include nuts, dried fruit, olives, slices of tangerines, dark chocolate, veg sticks and dips such as hummous instead of lots of heavy, calorie laden fatty snacks.

I often take a digestive enzyme with my Christmas dinner as I am not used to eating this much food in one sitting. These enzymes help you break down food and reduce the likelihood of bloating and indigestion. Probiotics can also be good to take during the festive season as too much alcohol, fizzy drinks and over-eating can play havoc with our digestive and immune systems.

• Have a light snack before going to parties so you don’t over-eat at the buffet or snacks. Have some protein eg fish, cheese, eggs, beans, lean meat as this helps support blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer – “protein before you party”!
• Have some breakfast on Christmas day – some porridge, smoothies, pancakes with berries, bacon or black pudding grilled with a little wholegrain toast. People who skip breakfast tend to overeat later on in the day.
• Try to chew your food more slowly, enjoy your time sitting down and eating your meal
• Say no to festive commitments you feel are too much – you don’t have to do or go to everything, burning the candle at both ends can burn us out a bit!
• Having water in between alcoholic drinks or alongside is likely to lessen your hangover! You can also take Vitamin C and Milk Thistle and B vitamins before bed to help your liver detoxify the alcohol
• Going for a stroll before or after Christmas dinner can help aid digestion and boost energy!
• Herbal teas such as peppermint and chamomile and ginger can settle and overworked digestive system

So this year savour your food and company, eat drink and be merry! For me I try to be grateful that I have my family around me, my brother-in-law cooks a great meal and I have the joy of seeing my daughter open her presents, still at age 7 believing in Santa! Anne xx