What is it about Christmas time that sends everyone into some kind of catching-up frenzy?
It is odd, you must admit. People that haven’t spoken to you since March are suddenly texting you, insisting that the pair of you catch up before Christmas. Everyone’s organising Christmas parties.
And birthday parties. Even if their birthday is in January. Because everyone’s away then, and god forbid they have a party in February.
So everyone’s life looks a lot like this at the moment: sleep, work, go out, drink, eat, go home. And repeat. There’s a lot of champagne. A lot of cocktails.
A lot of fun snowman-shaped cake pops and Santas made out of whipped cream and strawberries. Lots of meals full of extra salt and saturated fat that you wouldn’t normally eat – but you do anyway, because it’s the festive season and you’re going out to eat.
And then of course, we launch straight out of Christmas party season and right into that black hole that is the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. The week that disappears into a blur of icy poles, more glasses of champagne, leftover ham and chocolates from all the gift boxes that ended up under the tree.
You reach the first of January and everyone starts talking about resolutions, and you realise that you’ve probably eaten about a year’s supply of rum balls and mince pies… for dinner… every night… for the last three weeks.
And you’re supposed to be going on a beach holiday in two days and yet you would rather wear a muumuu than be seen in a bikini.
Now: This isn’t a post about depriving yourself of any Christmas treats. I would never tell you that you shouldn’t eat any gingerbread men or candy canes. Because fark, it’s Christmas, and nobody wants to be that person, sitting in the corner, totally miserable because they’ve banned themselves from eating anything with artificial colouring or whatever in it.
But… let’s be realistic. This Christmas party/indulging period takes up one twelfth of a year, every year. If the average person lives to be 81.85 years old, the average person spends 6.8 years of their life indulging in Christmas treats and drinking to excess. (I did that maths myself. Hold your applause to the end, guys.)
And while it’s so good to enjoy some pav at the barbeque on Christmas Day, it’s not great to do it every day for over a month. You’ll end up feeling sick and bloated and generally unhappy about yourself – because none of that food is particularly nourishing or particularly healthy.
So here’s how to get through the Christmas party season without feeling ill by the time it’s all over…
1) Eat before you go to parties.
I went to a party last week on an empty stomach. Upon arrival, I think I shoved about ten canapes in my mouth in the space of about two minutes.
And then I continued to eat whatever I could get my hands on. And then I went home and had the stomach ache to beat all stomach aches.
The best idea? Eat before you go. It’s just like the rule of never going shopping on an empty stomach. Empty stomach = poor choices.
If it’s not a breakfast/lunch/dinner hour, then plan ahead and keep snacks on hand. I like wholegrain crackers with natural peanut butter, bliss balls made of coconut and dates and other tasty things (recipe here), oat and dark chocolate cookies (recipe here). Fruit and veggies are also obvious ones, as well as yoghurt. Protein is also good and fills you up – try cheese or slices of ham or turkey.