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Nutrition tips for the festive season

You might be feeling fatigued from yet another big year. Or potentially stressed about what you need to do before you go on leave. Fatigue + stress can lead to poor eating choices at end of year events. Especially if the food and drinks are free.

To help you make informed choices, here are my top three nutrition tips for the festive season.

Our focus is predominantly on preventative health strategies and food/lifestyle education.

Hydrate

Your blood is made up of at least 70 percent water. Water helps to keep blood moving around your body so that your heart, stomach, liver, brain, digestive system, and cells run at optimal levels. Water also prevents fatigue, dehydration, and headaches. The average person needs between 2 – 2.5 litres of fresh water daily, and more if they are exercising and/or sweating heavily. In this warmer weather your sweat rate increases, so you’ll lose more water. So, aim to drink at least 2 litres of water daily to prevent dehydration, headaches, and other health issues.

Eat before alcohol

If you drink on an empty stomach, you will get drunk faster and make poor food choices. You’ll also stress your liver and disrupt your digestive system which may trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or bloating. Eating on an empty stomach also results in higher blood sugar (glucose) levels, which is particularly dangerous for diabetics. For those who are more weight conscious, high blood sugar levels may trigger insulin resistance, which leads to weight gain (especially around the stomach area).

I could go on, but I won’t. Hopefully you get the point – drinking on an empty stomach disrupts normal body processes. Instead, I recommend that you have something to eat before you grab an alcoholic beverage. Consider first eating some cheese and crackers, crackers (or even better carrot/celery sticks) with dips, unsalted nuts or an entree.

Go for green

For overall good health, I recommend choosing the greenest dish or drink on the menu. The green meal or drink will include things like lettuce, spinach, avocado, asparagus, kale, celery, apples, pears, beans, peas, cabbage, limes and/or super greens powder (dehydrated vegetables, blended).

Here’s why I recommend that you eat/drink your greens.

Green foods are often higher in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This means they help protect your cells and body organs against damage and inflammation. The result – less aches and pains and faster recovery from illness. Green foods also tend to be higher in fibre, nutrients, and vitamins. The combinations found in green foods are required to help your liver, heart, immune and digestive systems work at optimum.

Eating green foods can also help to prevent stomach issues (like IBS, bloating, constipation), reduce total cholesterol, and prevent unwanted weight gain.

Nutrition + wellness advice

Bronwyn Frazer is a communications specialist (BA: Communications) and Clinical Nutritionist (BHSc: Nutritional & Dietetic Medicine). She specialises in simplifying complex health science information to help people make informed choices about their diet and lifestyle.

To book an online nutrition consult, send Bronwyn a direct message via Linkedin.