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Jingle Bellies! Our Twelve Top Tips to Navigate the Festive Feast!

Christmas is all about enjoyment, tucking in to all of that seasonal food and drink and we are right there with you!

Nicola Cunningham, Nicola MacDonald and Amanda Serif of True Food Nutrition wish you a very happy Christmas

But we also know how over-indulgence can leave us feeling more than a bit "meh" once the turkey has been turned into sandwiches, soup and a curry, the tree has shed the last of its tinsel and Santa has hung up his hat, sworn off the mince pies for another year and Rudolf and his mates have left the North Pole for a month in the Caribbean!

So as we hurtle towards the festive season, here is our version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, offering you our Twelve Top Tips to navigate the festive feast that we are sure will leave you feeling not quite as stuffed as the turkey and a little more refreshed than Santa on Boxing Day!

On the first day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "breathe"! Amid the festive frenzy of joy, stress, and the occasional awkward family moment, box breathing is our ticket to a tension-free holiday! It's easy and simple and no-one need even know you're doing it. Close your eyes, breath in through your nose for the count of four, hold for four, breath out through your nose for four and hold for four before repeating the "box". You can box breath while stirring the gravy, staring at the turkey in the oven (because who doesn't do that?) or at any time or anywhere that you need to take a moment. Slowing down is a magnificent way to prepare for the feast and festivities.

On the second day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me to "bitter makes it better"! It's true that starting your meal with a small salad made with bitter leaves such as rocket, watercress, radicchio or a few sliced radish is a like giving your digestion a bit of a pep-talk. Dressed with a sprinkling of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, this zingy salad will stimulate saliva and stomach acid which will help you to enjoy your main course just a little more. With the coming weeks promising a digestive marathon, why not give our hard working gut a little helping hand?

On the third day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me to "vibe with your veggies!" and tuck into your festive veggies of choice first. Research suggests that this slows glucose absorption which not only means no food coma so that you can keep the party going but no-one is going to be able to steal the crispy roast potato you were saving 'til last!

On the fourth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "pee like Prosecco?" because if that's what it looks like, nice one, you're probably well hydrated! Pee like apple juice though means that you should go grab a glass of water. Checking the colour of your pee is is the ideal way to make sure that you stay properly hydrated, keeping your blood pressure stable so others can’t raise it quite so much and giving your skin a Christmas glow for the right reasons! Forget splashing out on fancy moisturisers and hydrate from the inside out instead.

On the fifth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "pimp up your plate" and put an extra handful of veggies on your lunch and dinner plate. This can work wonders for keeping that appetite in check and help to curve those mince-pie cravings and will also provide you with a bit of extra Xmas energy!

On the sixth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "munch mindfully". This really is our secret weapon when it comes to over-indulging in Christmas treats and the key to avoiding the post-holiday guilt trip. Concentrate on what you are eating, slow down, savour each bite, chew properly and enjoy the moment. We promise that the extra slice of Christmas cake won't seem so tempting.

On the seventh day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "take it in your stride" and get out for a walk once you've eaten your Christmas feast. 10 minutes is all you need and once you're out and walking, you'll probably want to walk for longer! Moving after a feast helps our bodies use all of that energy it's producing rather than overwhelming us and find its way to our hips or bellies!

On the eighth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "soak your nuts"! Soaking all of those little nuggets of nutty loveliness releases their nutrients such as protein, calcium and zinc and it also helps to remove phytic acid which can cause indigestion. Place the nuts in a bowl with a teaspoon or two of sea salt and cover with warm water. Leave to sit for 4-5 hours, drain and pat dry before roasting or toasting! A Top TFN Tip - don't soak Brazil nuts - they have a high fat content and don't cope well with being soaked!

On the ninth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "have a cheeky water chaser" after each alcoholic drink. This will not only out smart the holiday hangover but alcohol may also inhibit appetite control, giving you the munchies and a whole lot of regret in the morning!

On the tenth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "feast then fast". Embrace the holiday indulgence but balance it by avoiding snacks and leaving three to four hours between meals. Not only are our gut bacteria fans of the feast/famine concept, but it allows our digestion to rest and for the gut to be "swept" clean, ready for the next meal.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "enjoy the holidays" without guilt. Life is short, joy is necessary, and if mince pies bring happiness, who are we to deny ourselves the pleasure of occasional indulgence but trying some of our Top Tips will ensure that you enjoy the holidays just a little more comfortably!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, True Food Nutrition said to me "get in touch". If Christmas chaos has taken over or caution has been well and truly thrown to the wind, we've got the expertise and offer no-nonsense, practical and sustainable advice to help balance hormones, keep your digestive system in check, and move towards a confident weight in the New Year.

Cheers to a healthier, happier holiday season!

This material may not be reproduced in either a printed or digital format without the permission of True Food Nutrition. The information provided is general and has not been tailored to individual underlying health concerns or any prescription medication you may be taking. You may book a personalised nutritional therapy consultation to consider further your individual needs. The information is for educational purposes and must not replace medical advice. If you have a diagnosed medical condition, you should consult a doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.

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