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A Healthier Christmas

The geese are fattening. The cream is clotting. The wine is mulling. Yes, the Christmas season is upon us.

We’re none of us Scrooges here at Active Nation, and we love a good time, but there are ways to celebrate the festive season without hammering your waistline – or your health. Although it’s the season of good will, we also know that Christmas can be stressful: distant relatives, industrial catering, over-excited kids – tempers can flare and it’s easy to self-medicate. So, we’ve put together a bunch of tips and hints for a healthier Christmas – keeping you the indulgent side of over-indulgence.

Stay active

Yes, there’ll be a bunch of Christmas classics on TV – and the weather’s likely to be iffy – but you don’t have to stay glued to the couch. Why not get everyone out for a stroll after dinner – you’ll get some light and air, and it’s a great boost for your digestion. You could also switch off the screens for an hour and play an old-fashioned game – try hide and seek or sardines. It’ll get your body moving – and you might remember why you like your family.

Eat smarter

We love a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, but beware – Christmas dinner alone can come in at a whopping 3000 cals. That’s more than your average man needs for a whole day. Not only is it likely to pile on the pounds, you’ll be a sitting duck for indigestion and heartburn – not to mention feeling about as active as Jabba the Hutt. So, take it steady. Ask for a normal plateful and see how you feel afterwards. Who knows, this year you might even have some room for Christmas pud.

Stay hydrated

Most of us enjoy a tipple – or four – over Yuletide. Mulled wine for the carol singers, bucks fizz for breakfast, a glass or two of red with the big event. Maybe a digestif – a little port and brandy? It’d be rude not to. But those units can add up. So why not make every other drink non-alcoholic – try mocktails or fruit juices. They’ll leave you feeling fresher. And remember to drink lots of water first thing – it’ll really help that head.

Pick and choose

In the run up to the holidays, chances are you’ll be going to work dos, heading out with friends, meeting up with relatives. There’ll be buffets and bar snacks and canapes. But why not go half and half – fill your plate with half salad and vegetables. Don’t just load up on saturated fats – consider healthy swaps – some sushi for a sausage roll, bread sticks for cheese straws.

Fruit and nuts

Long before refrigerators and 24-hour supermarkets, we kept healthy and nutritious food for the midwinter. Seasonal fruits, nuts in their shells, dried preserves. Load the fruit bowl, get out the nut crackers and eat healthy. Fruit is also a great source of vitamin C to help fight those winter sniffles.

Ingredients

  • 12 medium eggs
  • 6tbsp bio yoghurt
  • 2tsp English mustard
  • 2tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 50g smoked salmon
  • Sprigs of fresh dill

Recipe

A healthy Christmas canape

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for stuffed cocktail eggs with salmon – a healthy seasonal treat.

Instructions

1. Boil eggs for seven mins then drop into iced water

2. Remove shells, halve lengthways

3. Scoop yolks into a bowl and mash with the yoghurt, mustard and parsley

4. Spoon back into eggs, top with a slice of salmon and a sprig or two of dill

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