How to 'Survive' Christmas?

It's December, in the Netherlands 'Sinterklaas' is back to Spain.. and in America Thanksgiving has passed. So the Christmas trees are back in our houses, the streets are brightened with Christmas lights and our houses are fully decorated. So Yes, it's finally Christmas time! A time of joy and love. It's actually one of my favorite times in the year! As a bonus, I'm also celebrating my birthday this time a year.

Christmas means it's time to connect to all your love ones and do fun things with friends and family, drink wine and eat delicious food! Yes, food and not always the most healthy food.. But it's my opinion that Christmas wouldn't be the same without a little indulgence! There is no harm in cheating these days, but where do you draw the line? How can you enjoy Christmas foods and not go overboard?! Well, I've been giving it much though and I would like to share with you some tips to survive Christmas in the most healthy way there is, whilst you can still enjoy all the good things.

Offer to Cook

We always spend 26th December (Boxing day) at my parents' house so this year I offered to cook dinner. This way I am in charge of what we will eat and I can make sure that there are enough vegetables (my parents don't normally eat lots of veggies, mostly salad). I will also make a grocery shopping list and bring some of my own products to make sure that they are as clean as possible!

On the blog you will now also find an overview of all the healthy recipes that I believe suit Christmas! And in my opinion these recipes are even tastier compared to unhealthy cheats! I made a special heading Christmas which lists all sorts of delicious Christmas Meal Ideas!! Here you will find, among other things, a delicious starter: Fig & Ham Bruschetta or a traditional Tomato Bruschetta. But you can also serve a simple Tomato Soup or Pumpkin Soup.

And what about a delicious Crusty Codfish served with Oven Roasted Rosemary Thyme Potatoes for main course and my amazing black bean brownies with a scoop of ice cream for dessert?!

Some of the lunch sandwich recipes are also perfect to incorporate in your Christmas breakfast or brunch. For example: Avocado Pomegranate Sandwich or the Smoked Salmon Sandwich. If you feel like pancakes why not make healthy ones like my Coconut Meal Pancakes?! And make a healthy but delicious Gingerbread which is perfect with organic butter!

Make sure you check it out! And also keep an eye out for one of my next posts in which I will compose some complete Christmas meals.

Choose Your Indulgence Carefully

As a already mentioned, indulging is inevitable at Christmas. Okay, if you really really want to it's possible, but it's a time to enjoy and you don't have to be that hard on yourself. But still moderation is key! A great tip I read somewhere whilst preparing this post was to pick your indulgence. If you decide to have ice cream or chocolate cake for dessert, then make sure your day is filled with enough nutrients. Especially your breakfast is very important so you can give your body the best possible start which will help you during the day. And don't forget to enjoy your ice cream or cake! Where is the enjoyment if you feel guilty about it! And remember a cheat once a while actually boosts your metabolism and is very good for your mental health ;).

Proportion control, especially for the snacks!

The most weight gain during Christmas comes from snacking on all those snacks offered! Of course it's good to have some of them, if they are delicious why not!? But one or two hands sugar coated nuts or 3 small toasts are just as good as the whole bowl! So make sure you control the amount of snack you're having. And if you know that dinner is served in about an hour, why fill your belly with all these snacks. First of all you don't have room for the whole dinner, but you will eat it all anyway and as a result you will almost certainly be guaranteed that you feel like you can roll back home.

And a little tip: make sure you have sugar free mints or chewing gum with you. Pop a mint just before you go to your family and this will help with the urge to devour all the snacks that are going round. Even when you've finished the mint you will still have the lingering mint tasts inyour mouth like after brushing your teeth. And nobody feels like eating anything after you have brushed your teeth!

Stay active!

Whatever you do, make sure you keep moving! Of course I don't mean that you should do some hard-core weight lifting schedule or run 20 km if you don't want or don't have the time, but you need to do some moving of light to moderate intensity. Take your family for a walk and get some fresh air. Or if you don't feel like going out or the whether isn't cooperating, incorporate some small exercised during your day. While you brush your teeth do some squats and lunches. Or when you are waiting for those delicious brownies to be baked in the oven grab a chair and so some triceps dips, planking on a cushion from the sofa or some pushups. But another and way more fun way: turn up the Christmas music and start dancing! You actually burn a lot of calories by dancing and it's fun! So why not?! It's Christmas after all! The point I want to make is that, no you are not going to lose weight during these days but keep your muscles activated to minimize damage!

Prepare some delicious, light, healthy meals the days after Christmas

And last but not least, after Christmas you need to get back on track. So what better way than to experiment with some new healthy recipes that don't contain lots of carbohydrates from pasta and bread. Make sure you have some ingredients lying around the house for some delicious healthy and light meals for the days after Christmas! Here are some options:
Or just a simple soup or any other combination of just fish/chicken with vegetables!

But most of all I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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