Ah that time of year again we all get so busy holidaying, buying presents, decorating Christmas trees, attending parties etc. As most of us are well aware, this leads to neglecting to focus on health, which can have lasting negative effects, generally on the waistline. From overeating at parties to stress-eating cookies while wrapping presents late into the night, it is important to stay on track with healthy habits. I compiled some tips to help avoid weight gain, dull skin and elevated blood sugar levels that can result from overeating—while still enjoying a happy, and healthy festive season.

  1. Complement each meal with a soup or salad 

Festive season foods can to be richer and heavier than normal meals, this usually leads to excessive calorie intake. Starting with a broth-based soup (not cream) or even better in the heat, a salad (minus heavy dressing), it encourages you to eat a smaller portion of a heartier food without going hungry. Minestrone, vegetable soups, and chicken noodle are healthy options (not too many noodles remember this is not a pasta)

  1. Hydrate 

While dashing to and from events, it can be easy to forget to drink enough water. However, according to WebMD, drinking water helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body, responsible for many different vital functions. From digestion to transportation and absorption of nutrients, drinking water can also help control calories. Foods with a high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, are absorbed more slowly by the body, aiding fullness.

  1. Plan Better

Packing snacks avoids you settling for fast food or whatever is available. When running errands with no time to spare for a full meal, temptation to use the drive-through window for some fries can be avoided with a little preparation. Women’s Health recommends grab-and-go fruit like apples and bananas, air-popped popcorn, carrots and hummus, and light string cheese with a few whole grain crackers as healthy snack options.  I always have a bag of raw almonds in my car or a Nutrilife Shake.

  1. Try and get enough sleep 

Late nights make it hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule, sleep deprivation can cause not only drowsiness the following day, but also lead to overeating. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that men and women who slept less than 5 hours a night were more likely to crave (and end up eating) more high-calorie foods. Sleep duration has a significant impact on the hormones which regulate hunger — ghrelin and leptin — thereby stimulating the appetite.

  1. Don’t drink all your calories 

Cutting out alcohol is not realistic for most during festive season, limiting intake is crucial for keeping calorie intake to a minimal. Every second drink should be a glass of water helps avoid over-indulging.  a Big help is to cut out sugary mixers and choose to sip a drink neat (on the rocks) or mixed with soda water.  Very important is to also avoid the common plan to avoid eating all day and “save up calories” for drinking later on. Harvard researchers explain that since most cocktails contain simple carbohydrates, which cause a spike in blood sugar, the “crash” after leads to a ravenous appetite (and high likelihood to over-eat). Therefore, it is wiser to plan to have less to drink and eat food as normal throughout the day.

  1. Wear tight fitting clothes

Before sitting down to a big dinner, consider clothing options. An elastic waistband helps you feel like you can fit a bit more in as it expands whilst a belt and structured pants or jeans won’t be as forgiving. This simple reminder around the middle can help shave off many extra calories during a meal.

  1. Always eat something before going to a party

It can be very hard to resist a plateful of chicken nuggets, or nacho’s if attending a party on an empty stomach. Eating a small, nutritious meal prior to attending an event eases hunger and you side step the urge to smack a burger in your face later.

  1. Live a little

Deprivation of favourite festive season treats can lead to an unplanned binge, especially when stress levels are elevated. Treat yourself a bit during the festive season, always keep moderation in mind.

  1. Pucker Up 

Many women enjoy wearing a beautiful lipstick when going out, applying a vibrant shade can not only perk mood, but also help avoid over-indulging. After dinner, re-applying a perfect pout can help resist the urge to have second helping and rather sip on a glass of champagne