Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let’s open another box of chocolates early and get that wine seen to.
Now, while I am 100% certain those are not the correct lyrics to Baby, It’s Cold Outside, I think it is fair to assume that many homes up and down the country will be stocked up better than most supermarket shelves this Christmas. And while your get-togethers and plans won’t be what they usually are, you shouldn’t be putting off treating yourself or be made to feel guilty about it.
I’m talking to those people who have already finished their advent calendars weeks in advance, have been sneakily in the biscuit tin when no one’s looking, and are more partial to a mulled wine in the evening now that they’re working from home.
Yes, this Christmas it’s completely justified to indulge yourself, and without feeling bad at all about indulging, let me explain how you can do it.
Understanding food guilt
In the days leading up to Christmas, when there isn’t much news happening, you’ll always start seeing stories in the paper to fill pages about things like how much sugar is in a mince pie or the “staggering” level of calories in the average Christmas dinner. In my opinion, it is all a way of trying to guilt people into feeling bad about indulging on Christmas Day. In fact, if there was ever a day for it, it’s then and there no doubt about it.
That’s why I think it is important not to feel guilty about what you eat this time of year, especially if it’s all the foods and lovely stuff you never touch the rest of the year. You know it’s the time of year for treating yourself, so leave food guilt outside in the cold.
Making Bevvy Substitutions
I know a lot of people who will start their Christmas morning with a lovely cup of freshly brewed coffee and accompany it with an even lovelier glass of Champagne. And who hasn’t been kept up to the wee hours on Christmas Eve Night trying to assemble some plastic monstrosity with a beer (or two) in hand?
Whatever your preferred tipple is at Christmas, it’s where all those hidden calories lie. And while it used to be that low alcohol & alcohol-free substitutes tasted quite bad, there is now a whole world out there of lovely spirits, wines & low calorie lager that you wouldn’t be able to taste the difference in.
The great thing about them as well, for anyone prone to a bit of online shopping for their big shop, is that the main supermarkets have great deals on multipacks and boxes of low alcohol stuff, as there’s no alcohol duty on them. Swap them into your usual mix, and you’ll not feel bad having an extra glass or two or three.
Don’t be a lazy cook
Your Christmas dinner is the star of the day, and the easiest way to end up rummaging through your drawers for Rennies, later on, is by buying everything pre-packed. While I like saving time in the kitchen just as much as anyone, if you’re buying prepared veg, stuffing, potatoes etc., you’re buying food which will have more preservatives included.
So instead of going for those pre-packaged ready to roast from frozen veggies that have a surprisingly high level of fat and sugar, think of cooking from scratch using your preferred healthy ingredients instead.
You’re going for a walk
I always think there are two kinds of families you get on Christmas Day. Those who will have a habit of going for a short walk, even if just for half an hour, and those who will only get changed out of pyjamas when it’s time to have Christmas dinner. Any exercise at all is beneficial in Christmas week. I’m not suggesting you have to schedule in a half-hour for your family to get on the lycra and try your best keeping up with Joe Wicks in front of the TV, but actively reminding yourself to keep the body moving will be beneficial.
Even if it is just a walk around the block, do it. I know myself that when it gets to later in the day, and I’ve hardly moved from the sofa, I can feel my legs getting restless from inactivity. Plus, if someone gets a bike from Santa, they’re going to want to show it off, creating the perfect excuse to get everyone to pop coats on and follow along.
Most importantly, don’t hold back
I hope this has sparked some Christmas joy for you or at least made you start thinking about getting a mince pie heated up. Just remember that Christmas is all about treating yourself, so don’t spend the whole time humming and hawing over what you should and shouldn’t eat. Have fun and dig in. I know I will.
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This is a contributed post