Over the years the festive season has gotten a bit of a bad reputation as the time for over indulgence. It's the season of good food and too many office parties, and for many it's a time when normal health habits disappear out the window. However, it doesn't have to be that way, and the health kick needn't be delayed until January 1st. Instead, think of the festive season as a time to challenge yourself to a healthier Christmas but one still packed with good times, great memories and one that you'll not need to make up for in the gym come the new year.
Have a happy healthy Christmas
1. Santa Fun Run December is not just the season for too much food and wine, it's also the month of the Santa Fun Run. Almost every city seems to run a Santa Fun Run so what better way to celebrate the festive season, than to don the obligatory costume and burn some calories on a merry run.
2. Boxing Day Family Fitness Fun If Christmas Day is a day of excess, then why not start a new tradition of getting active on Boxing Day. If you've got the family gathered round, then you could do a family Olympics, or if it's just you and your friends, then how about a day at the beach with lots of games and activities to burn off the chestnut stuffing and pavlova.
3. Switch to low calorie drinks Most people enjoy a tipple at Christmas, and why not, there is after all a lot to celebrate. However, if you're concerned about undoing all the good work of the year, why not just spend a little bit of time planning ahead and choosing more diet friendly beverages. Ditch high carb beers to low calorie options, go for low alcohol wine, or go for a cocktail of fruit juices and a white spirit. There are lots of options available, just make sure you plan ahead.
Photo: Quinn Dombroski : Wikimedia Commons
4. Volunteer Volunteering at Christmas is a great one to make you feel like you are giving back and to also get you active and on your feet. There are lots of options available for volunteering such as helping out at charitable events, Christmas gift wrapping, manual active roles such as packaging and lifting food and gift donations. Look out for adverts in the local press or contact your favourite charities. This one gets you out and about and is good for the soul too.
5. Dance the night away Going out for a night on the town with the girls and worried that too many glasses of champers will add up to too many calories? No fear, just factor in a bit of dancing to even it out a bit. Get ready to burn over 200 calories for every thirty minutes of funky shape throwing that you do.
6. Plan the menu carefully Good food needn't be just the fatty, sugary and salty options. Rather than the full on roast turkey which is often too much to eat in the hot Aussie sunshine, throw some steaks, lobsters and chicken on the barbie and team with equally yummy but healthy salads and rices. For dessert, look and plan for healthier options of your favourites. Even the Christmas fave of Pavlova can be made healthier with the use of yoghurts not cream, and lashings of fresh fruit.
7. Hit the beach but ditch the sunbathing Instead bring a frisbee, or come prepared for beach cricket or volleyball. Get down there and get active!
8. If you've got kids, then factor in an 'activity' toy from Santa for this year; things like a bike, a body board, a t ball set etc - something you can all enjoy as a family and something that gets you all off the couch.
9. For Christmas week you could start each day with a super healthy and energy boosting smoothie. Something nutritious to start your day off with and a health kick you could easily carry on into the new year. If you've young kids then pack the smoothie full of fresh fruit as a great way to jam in some of their 5 a day!
10. Finally. If you do have a bad day over Christmas; perhaps one too many sherries or slices of the Yule log, go easy on yourself, it is Christmas after all and tomorrow is a brand new day, so make up for it then rather than make it a daily seasonal habit.
What tips do you have for a healthier Christmas time for you and your family?