Healthy Christmas ideas for a happy healthy Christmas

Hey mamas! We are excited over at Motherhood: The Real Deal to launch our new mini-series The Eat Right Series for Busy Mums with Lucy Patel, a.k.a. the Modern Mum’s Nutritionist. This series was born out of a shared passion for supporting mums during what can be some pretty intense years of motherhood. And to help busy mums realise that they CAN feel better both inside and out again with the right advice and guidance. In our first issue we focus on healthy Christmas ideas (is that even a thing? answer: yes!) and how to have a happy healthy Christmas at a time of year when usually everything goes out the window and then we end up being down on ourselves in the new year as a result.

So without further ado, let me hand over to Lucy with her healthy Christmas ideas and advice on how to have a happy healthy Christmas.

Healthy Christmas ideas for a happy healthy Christmas

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, keeping ourselves healthy and active can feel just that little bit harder. With festive temptation around every corner in the form of seasonal coffees, mulled wine and mince pies already filling the supermarket shelves, it can be difficult to strike a balance between enjoying the festive season with freedom, and still looking after ourselves. With a little preparation and planning, you can ensure you enjoy a fulfilling and enjoyable winter, appreciating all this beautiful season has to offer.

Nurture your Natural Defences

Now is the time to ensure you are nurturing your own natural resilience to the winter bugs lurking around the corner, and the unwelcome guests that will inevitably be trailed through the door from nursery and school via the little ones.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to ensure your own and your family’s natural defenses are supporting you over the festive season. There are a couple of really crucial nutrients you should be getting plenty of, which help to support and strengthen your immune system.

  • Vitamin C, not just found in oranges, but also in spinach, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Omelettes are a great meal to pack with these Vitamin C-rich veggies, and hopefully a crowd-pleaser for the kids too.
  • Zinc, which is a little harder to get, found in red meat, beans and lentils. A lovely pot of chilli is a great way of ensuring you and your family are getting a good amount of zinc. And, after the kids are in bed, feel free to tuck into a lovely plate of oysters! Oysters have the highest amount of zinc in any natural food.

Including these foods in your family’s diet regularly will help to feed your natural defenses and make it more likely you will sail through the inevitable cold relatively unscathed.

ideas for a happy healthy Christmas

Eat Seasonally

Buying and eating seasonal produce isn’t just better for the environment, it’s better for your health too. Seasonal produce clocks up fewer air miles and is, therefore, fresher and more nutrient-dense than produce that has been on a long-haul journey across the world.

Winter sees parsnips, broccoli, squash, cabbages, leeks, and onions flourish – the perfect makings of warming and nutritious soups. Seek out your nearest farmers and makers markets and support local growers as much as you can, you’ll find it kinder to the purse strings too when the journey from farm to fork is just a few miles.

Embrace the Cold

Spending time outdoors, regardless of the season, carries so many health benefits that will boost your sense of wellbeing. Exposure to natural sunlight promotes the production of serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone’. Boosting your serotonin helps combat low mood and Seasonal Affective Disorder, which many experience to some degree during the darker, colder months. Frequent exercise also increases your serotonin production, so an outdoor walk is a win-win.

Wrap up warm, get your scarves and boots on and enjoy the experience of nature in the refreshing and cooler weather.

Practice Moderation

It can be easy to over-indulge over winter; with Christmas produce available earlier each year, it might feel we have been eating mince pies and cheese for a couple of months before Christmas even arrives. Whilst you should absolutely enjoy these treats, it’s always good to have some alternative options available so you can actively choose what it is you really want at the moment.

When only a warm hug in a mug will do, instead of a sugar-laden gingerbread latte, opt for a winter tea such as apple spice, cinnamon, ginger or cranberry. These will warm you through and have all the lovely tastes of Christmas.

And remember, Christmas dinner can actually be a very healthy meal. Ensure you include lots of seasonal vegetables like carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, swede, peas and if you’re worried that Christmas dinner feels a little over-facing, reduce the amount of potato as this will fill you up quickly, and have a bigger pile of veg (with gravy, of course).

But if only chocolate will do for breakfast on Christmas morning, that’s fine! Embracing the Christmas routines of our childhood and relishing the nostalgia it brings is one of the most special things about Christmas. One day, or a few days, of eating in a way that is different to your usual routine will not have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. If its enjoyable, then its healthy. Approaching these changes from a place of acceptance, happiness, free from restriction and guilt, will actually make it less likely for you to over-indulge or over-eat. So, eat what makes you genuinely happy is the message here, and some days that will probably be having your usual porridge or smoothie as your body tells you it needs a bit of ‘health’.

ideas for a happy healthy Christmas

Vitamin D

As we wrap up from the cold, it can be difficult to ensure we are getting enough Vitamin D to see us through the winter months. From September to April, we rely on sourcing Vitamin D from our food rather than the sun, so it is important to include lots of Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Eggs, mushrooms and oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines all contain good amounts of Vitamin D.

As an insurance policy, you might want to consider a 25mcg Vitamin D supplement to ensure your levels remain steady until the sun re-emerges in Spring.

Lucy is a Registered Nutritionist and specialises in supporting women regain their health, energy and body confidence after having children.

You can follow her on Instagram @lucypnutrition, she also runs a private Facebook group ‘The Busy Mum’s Survival Hub’. She works remotely and from her clinic in Cheshire. You can find out more about Lucy by visiting www.lucypatelnutrition.co.uk

Food photo created by prostooleh – www.freepik.com, Winter photo created by senivpetro – www.freepik.com, Winter photo created by senivpetro – www.freepik.com

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