LAURA WARREN: Give your Christmas a healthy lift-off
‘Tis the season to be jolly … and – in many cases – a time to indulge in a bit of food folly!
We all know the feeling. After another bloody slog of a year with work, family and other stresses, we can often find ourselves struggling over the finish line in the final countdown to Christmas.
Convenience foods are all around us at Christmas time, and for some reason we’re all far more inclined to break the rules when the festive madness grips us.
First of all there’s the travelling. When we’re rushing through an airport the last thing most people will look at are the nutritional values of whatever plastic sandwich or hastily made and overpriced slop we’re gulping down to keep the hunger at bay.
Healthy eating options have generally improved, although the choices are still fairly limited. But there are a few alternatives to running straight for those McGolden Arches after you squeeze your way through security.
If it’s early, the healthiest option it to find somewhere that serves up some lovely fluffy scrambled eggs, on a nice slice of wholegrain bread. Or if you’re at pains not to be naughty, but nice, this Christmas then bin the bread altogether and ask for some turkey rashers instead.
Most airports will serve poached or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on fresh brown bread, but if you find yourself in more rustic surroundings a lá Ryanair-land, just choose the best protein option available. A nice bowl of porridge with your favourite fruit washed down with a cup of coffee will leave you feeling revitalised and to avoid the unhealthy temptations.
For lunch, most airport restaurants will serve Caesar salads, but if you want the slimline option tell them to leave the sauce on the side. I’m always shocked at the volume of greasy dressing they pile on the salads: you may as well go and gorge on that burger and chips with the amount of fat, sugar and calories in the sauce.
Other options, if you’re not off the bread, would be a nice fresh salad sandwich or a wrap on wholegrain brown, and if they have nice homemade soup it makes a great combo.
If you just gotta have that burger, opt for a turkey, beef, lamb or chicken patty with cheese but without the bun and with a nice big crunchy side salad. This will give you a fairly decent balanced meal with protein, carbohydrate and a good vegetable source. But do try to say ‘Non’ to the fries! We all prefer to land at our destination without feeling sluggish, so avoid the chips if you want to arrive fresh and revitalised. Fast food will give you that instant ‘hit’, but afterwards can leave you feeling horrible, sluggish and moody.
Choose the healthiest options you can see on the menu and, if in doubt, just leave it out. My advice if you’re looking to fill a quick hole is to grab yourself a smoothie or some fruit and nuts.
Try to avoid the refined sugary treats, the sweets, chocolates and giant Toblerone bars stacked high in the duty free. Instead, look for protein bars that have at least seven grams of protein iand under sevens grams of sugar. These carbohydrate and protein snack will give you the energy boost you need to get you through your travels, and don’t be afraid to sneak a peek at the back of the labels.
The holiday season is busy enough between security, layovers, baggage claims and delays – the last thing you want is to be fretting about your diet.
So have yourself a happy and healthy Christmas. And when you cut down on the bad carbs and convenience food, there’s more room to enjoy that cheeky glass of Champers as you wait for your flight to be called.
For more great health and nutrition tips, log on to: http://www.elitelivingnutrition.com