Christmas is a wonderful holiday time

Most people look forward to Christmas each year, when everyone wants to have fun, celebrate and catch up with friends and family.  No celebration is complete without food & drinks, so depending on how long your holiday is, and how much celebrating you intend to do, we have some tips & guidelines for you.


The wonderful thing about living in South Africa is that Christmas is in SUMMER.  Summer is an awesome season! The days are long, giving you more time to be outdoors, your muscles are warm so exercise is easier, and exercise is fun! You don’t have to be stuck in a sweaty indoor area, but instead you want to be outdoors, and there are enough hours to fit in a walk, run, swim, ball game with the kids, hike outdoors, bike ride, or even dance the night away….they all work!

Spectacular summer food & drink ideas

Hydration is essential

Hot sunny days with plenty of exercise mean that you can dehydrate easily. Drink plenty of water…sweet drinks will quickly add to your energy intake & can leave you thirsty, so make water fun if you don’t like the flavour.. A jug in the fridge can entice anyone to drink!
•    Citrus – lemon, orange, naartjie segments, grapefruit
•    Apple, mint, strawberry, peaches, thin pineapple slices, watermelon, berries, mango slices
•    Slithers of fresh ginger, lemon grass, sprig of lavender (can be quite strong, but nice with strawberries)
•    Sprinkle of Cinnamon (nice alone or with citrus or berries)
•    Drink water ice cold by adding ice cubes.
•    Try sparkling water for a little change.
•    Try bottled or filtered water as often it tastes better than tap water.
•    Puree fresh fruits and freeze in an ice tray and use these tasty ice cubes to flavour jugs of ice cold water.
•    If you have a juicer, add a little vegetable juice

Make sure you rehydrate well after consuming alcohol.  

Drink plenty of water every day – it will help to regulate your appetite


Alcohol

Binge drinking is very unhealthy!  It is much better to have 1-2 drinks a day, than to consume it all on one occasion.   
https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/is-your-drinking-a-problem/christmas-liver
When drinking alcohol, make sure you have a drink in each hand – one alcohol & 1 water! Spritzers and non-aspartame sweetened sugar free mixers help to reduce the insulin load.
Where possible, avoid sugar laden juices and sodas.


Important reminders


•    Eat regularly – don’t skip meals and end up starving & eating a huge amount next time.
•    Enjoy your meals – eat enough to be satisfied, but not to be over full.  
•    Ensure there are plenty of vegetable dishes to enjoy so there is plenty of choice and variety.
•    There are so many wonderful fruits around over December, so take advantage of the variety and enjoy the antioxidants and hydrating juices in preference to starchy foods.  
o    Mix fruit into salads, as snacks, on kebabs for the braai, and as desserts.  The possibilities are endless.  
o    Avoid creamy potato bakes and heavy dressings, rather try boiled baby potatoes, fruit slices, and plenty of different salads – rather than making 1 huge salad, make a variety of different salads, it improves your vegetable intake!
o    Use crudités with vegetable dips for starters or snacks, or try out our tamari chickpeas – absolutely delicious!
•    Enjoy the braai – how about using fish rather than steak sometimes?  Try to get good grassfed steaks, and free range chicken!  For a treat, liberally smother  shellfish with some lemon juice and garlic,  and perhaps a little olive oil, and throw that onto the braai!
•    Set yourself goals e.g. 1-2 treats a day.  Decide what your treat will be, and stick to it
•    Leave the chocolates for after the meal, don’t have a bowl standing around all day
•    Enjoy mince pies – try to make some yourself using whole grain flours – in moderation
•    Christmas pudding was made to be eaten – so try making it with ½ the sugar
•    Plan to do activities with friends and family, rather than just “going over for drinks”.  Meet for a picnic, go for a good walk in a park, meet on the beach for a swim, go for a run / cycle, go out dancing afterwards.
•    Kids love picnics! Pack plenty of fresh finger vegetables – baby tomatoes, cucumber and carrot sticks, broccoli florets, thin green beans, mange tout, asparagus spears as well as gherkins or pickled onions.  Picnic protein can be meat strips, chicken drumsticks, biltong, hummus, salmon spread, tuna mayonnaise, or cottage cheese dips.  Don’t forget guacamole, olives, pesto, avocado slices and nuts for some healthy fats.
 
Enjoy the celebrations!

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