Essential tips for a healthy festive season: A doctor’s guide

Our doctors from Duff Street Medical Clinic have put together some essential tips to help you and your family have a healthy Christmas and New Year season.

While indulging in holiday feasting and drinking some extra booze are some joys associated with the Christmas season, overindulgence can also take a toll on your health. 

Enjoying your festive season doesn’t have to mean forgetting all the healthy habits that you’ve been practising throughout the year. Christmas is also a wonderful time to remain healthy and active while enjoying your feasts and drinks. All that matters is keeping your indulgence in moderation.

Keeping track of your health during the festive season can be challenging. However, with some simple tweaks and tricks, you can be at the top of your health even during the Christmas season.

Read our doctor’s guide that recommends the essential tips you would need for a healthier holiday season:

Eat often but in smaller portions

Keeping your dinner portions smaller, but eating more frequently is healthier during the holiday season

Festive dinners are usually huge, often leaving your digestive system overloaded.Indulging in large meals throughout the holiday season can potentially lead to feeling bloated and indigestion. It also expands your stomach that pushes against other organs to make you feel uncomfortable and sluggish.

One essential tip is to have your food often, but in smaller portions. Smaller, but frequent meals aid in a better metabolism than having big meals but fewer times. This provides ample time for you to use all the nutrients to fuel your body, keeping you active throughout the day.

Be selective with the type of meat that you eat and don’t forget to include plenty of vegetables.

Go slow on alcohol

Binge drinking during holidays is very common. Especially with a summer Christmas, the excitement and fun with drinks play a big role in Australia.

However, drinking too much, including binge-drinking is associated with many health risks including short and long term issues in your health. The short term risks of binge-drinking involve more immediate symptoms like bad hangovers, memory loss, alcohol poisoning or even enhanced risk to accidents and injuries.

Long term risks are generally more adverse, that increases the risks to chronic health conditions, loss of memory, diabetes and weight gain.

The easiest way out is to know your alcohol limits. Stick to less alcoholic drinks and keep a track on your consumption. Most importantly, make sure to have plenty of water before and after drinking alcohol. 

Take care of your gut health

Indulging in our favourite food and treats is one of the best parts of the festive season.

Good gut health is important because it improves your digestion, helps keep healthy skin and keeps you active. Good gut health also enhances your immune system, improves your symptoms of depression and provides numerous other health benefits.

Since we indulge in big feasts during the festive season, maintaining good gut health can be challenging. 

The best way to get your gut on track is by eating a diverse range of food including vegetables and fruits and legumes. Include fermented foods such as kimchi or kombucha that promotes the growth of good bacteria in your body. 

Watch your sugar intake

Keep a track of your sugar intake during Christmas to remain healthy

During the festive season, the sugar intake can skyrocket, thanks to the traditional sweet dishes, cakes, pavlovas and the chocolates. 

It is alright to treat yourself with some Christmas cakes, but try to eat more vegetables and protein so you feel less required for desserts.

Stay hydrated

Don’t forget to drink your water. During the holiday season, it’s easy to forget your usual health routines and miss out on some more glasses of water. Being dehydrated will cause a lot of issues such as leaving you physically and mentally tired, leave you with dry skin, cause headaches and many more.

Water assists in digestion and helps deliver oxygen all over the body. On the occasions of a big night out, don’t forget to consume at least one glass of water before you indulge in your favourite cocktails.

Keep away from stress and beat the holiday blues

The holiday season needs a lot of preparation and planning which might leave you stressed. Also, for some of us, Christmas can be a lonely time. Stress and depression can ruin both your holidays and your health.

With demands like shopping for your family, cooking for a cast of thousands and with the COVID-19 pandemic still around, it is understandable that you might feel extra stressed this Christmas. But, with some tips, it is possible to beat the holiday blues.

Start with keeping realistic plans for your holiday season, fix a financial budget, reach out for help from friends and family, get physically active and have a well-balanced diet with plenty of rest and water.

If you need help with mental support, reach out to our mental health care GP’s who can advise you on stress management or even provide a GP mental health management plan.

Stay healthy during the Christmas season and get adjusted

Practice your healthy habits and incorporate our doctor’s tips in your daily routine throughout the festive season.

Wishing you and your family a very healthy Christmas from our entire team at Duff Street Medical Clinic.