Pixie is a lifestyle blogger, scientist (BSc), nutritionist (MSc), speaker, and content creator.
Pixie and I joined forces to bring you the Ultimate Festive Season Survival Guide. Here are common Q&A about fitness and nutrition we hope you’ll find useful.
What food to eat before a booze to minimise the effects of alcohol?
If you know that you are going out for a big night drinking, the worst thing that you can do is to go on an empty stomach. You’ll get drunk quicker and get sick sooner. You want to eat some complex carbs, some good source of fat and some protein to keep you full. A nice balanced meal, not too big, to line your stomach, preferably not too spicy either to not worsen inflammation; something gentle and easy to digest. Make sure there is a small gap between eating and going out.
How to stay motivated when is dark and horrible outside?
Meet a friend. Over Christmas, you will have more time to go for classes, for an outdoor run or a partner training session since you might have taken time off work.
If none of your friends is up for it, make an appointment with a trainer, or try something new that you always wanted to experience.
What food to eat when hangover?
Most important thing is to drink lots of water. Not much coffee, teas, or other flavoured drinks, but water. Coconut water is a good option too, to help to refill the electrolytes reserve. Food wise go for plain, again nothing too spicy or with too much flavour.
Plain toasted bread, mashed avocado, poached eggs, salt is the best option and my favourite to go to when I am hangover. It’s a balanced meal and contains the right amount of carbs, protein and fat. Don’t go for acidic food like tomato or lemon. Take your time chewing as well! Enjoy your food.
Top tips to stay fit during festive season
The most important thing is to keep your body moving!
You’ve been eating a lot and have been spending lots of time indoor.
Go for walks. Get on car trip and go to the countryside for a long walk in the forest, even on the beach if it’s not too cold.
It’s good also for Vitamin D levels! During winter we all become Vitamin D deficient, we wrap ourselves up, we avoid spending time outside, it gets dark so quickly. NHS recommends everybody to take Vitamin D supplement, no matter your age, gender, nationality.
If you have a big family and your family have kids and pets, play with them! They’ll love it and you will keep active!
What food to go for (or not to go for) to not feel too bloated/lethargic after?
Normally people feel lethargic when they have too many carbs. It is not about being gluten intolerant, it’s just about getting too much of it in. Also, the time of the day matters: carbs in the evening will make you feel lethargic for the quantity of glucose in your stomach that your body will struggle to digest. It is not about not having carbs. Just control your portion, don’t go crazy.
How can I join the celebrations without drinking/eating as much?
Don’t miss out on having fun! Enjoy yourself. Don’t stress the entire time. You can be mindful: fill up your plate at the buffet, just maybe don’t go back nibbling. Grazing makes you lose track of how much you are eating and you might underestimate what you actually had.
Same thing applies to alcohol: if you never finish your glass and someone keeps topping it up, you might lose the count of how much you actually had. Make sure to finish your glass, and fill it up again.
What if someone has a goal (like getting ready for their wedding day) and is really stressing about undoing all the good work?
Keep up your healthy eating and your exercise regime up until Christmas, but for one day just enjoy. One day won’t undo everything you have done beforehand. It’s nice to take the opportunity and to actually relax. Life is too short to not being enjoyed.
What if during the festive season gyms are closed and outside is pouring down rain?
Stream a little workout routine online from YouTube or Vimeo. There are some good fitness vloggers uploading great content. Get your friends and family involved too. It’s fun! You won’t need more than half an hour. (Check out my Fitness Advent Calendar for inspiration or get January/February Women’s Health issue to access the first 2 weeks of my Fit Body Plan)
Also, even if you aren’t a yogi, do some Yoga flows. Life at work before Christmas is so hectic, there’s always so much to do. It’s nice to take the opportunity to slow down in your workout as well, to breath deeply, to stretch and distress.
Again, getting outside will make you feel less lethargic, more active and better about yourself. During winter is easy to get really lazy and to think that staying indoor is better for us because outside is dark and cold, but actually a little run, and remember doesn’t matter how long is the run, or a walk will instantly make you feel better.
What shall you make if you are hosting the party?
If you are hosting a Christmas themed party make lots and lots of vegetables. Salads, but mainly vegetable medleys, will certainly be appreciated by your guests. Roasted carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, parsnip, drizzled with a honey sauce and some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Yum! It will look very seasonal and festive.
And if you are looking to impress your guests, check Pixie’s edible Christmas crackers recipe.
Have a meat centerpiece, like turkey, or a vegetarian one, like stuffed squash: it will look really impressive and will be very tasty.
Definitely, have mince pies and pigs in blankets. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without those!
How many pigs in blankets is too many?
Never too many!
Let’s put it this way: a quarter of your plate should be protein, 50% vegetables and the remaining 25% complex carbs. That’s a nicely proportioned plate.
Don’t keep grazing on pigs in blankets but equally, don’t count yourself. Just have your portion and enjoy it!
How can you proportion alcohol?
Have a glass of water in between glasses to not overdo. Go more for something like G&T and prosecco rather than lots of cocktails, especially if you are mixing different alcohol bases. Cocktails are also super sugary.
Open question for you – Christmas pudding or mince pies?