‘Christmas Cheer’ is now in abundance and we want to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves without undoing all our hard work throughout the year, or being left feeling bloated and lethargic.

When we start eating and drinking things we normally don’t, or in the volumes we normally wouldn’t, we start feeding dodgy microbes in our gut, which contributes to weight gain and inflammation.  These ‘dodgy bugs’ are capable of liberating up to 20% more calories out of food than the ‘good bugs’!

Limit your alcohol intake

By all means enjoy a drink if you feel like it, but often we reach for the alcoholic beverages out of habit.  Ask yourself if you really feel like alcohol, as your tastebuds might be equally happy with a tropical smoothie, kombucha or a sparkling water infused with citrus fruit, strawberries or cucumber.

Make easy snack swaps

A beautifully prepared seasonal fruit and nut platter can be a feast for the eyes and tastebuds, making it easy to choose healthier snack options to fill up on before indulging in a few treats.

Choose fibre rich foods at the dinner table

Fibre-rich foods help to make you feel fuller and can stop over-indulging on sugary or processed treats . Generally speaking, whole foods like fruit, vegetables, salads and whole grains contain more fibre and by filling up on those things first, we not only crave less junk food, we won’t have the room for it.

Get your bake on

With the increase in food allergies and dietary requirements, there is now an abundance of recipes for healthier versions of our favourite treats and desserts, and the ingredients are easily found in health food stores and supermarkets.  A quick internet search is bound to give you recipes that are refined sugar, dairy and gluten free, and you will be surprised at just how yummy “healthy” treats can be!

Take quality herbs and supplements

Many herbs down-regulate the ‘dodgy’ bug populations, reduce sugar cravings, and prevent bloating and other gut symptoms, and there are some excellent all in one gut supplements available that taste good and are easy to take daily. Your health practitioner or nutritionist can help advise you on the correct supplements and dosage to support your gut and nutritional needs over the festive season.

With just a few small changes, it really is possible to have your Christmas Pudding and eat it too. Merry Christmas!