Your Winter diet can be tasty AND healthy… here’s how…

DarkChocolateChristmas is often a time of pure gluttony. We splendour in all the wonderful luxury foods that surround us in the supermarkets and shops and cannot resist an opportunity to tantalise our tastebuds with the latest christmas themed ‘fad’ dessert that may be making its’ way around the pages of social media and ‘trending’ lists in the current magazines.

But Christmas time doesn’t have to mean that we stuff our faces, maintaining the excuse that we will diet in January, nor do we have to starve ourselves for a few weeks to make up for the black hole we fall into for the weeks over mid-to-end December, taking every sweet option going “because it’s Christmas”. If you take a step back and take a good look at the extra lines that are added to the shelves this time of year, where the superstores can cash in on the over eating, festive fuelled frenzy of the general public, you will see that there is actually a wide range of super food that can be formed into a structured and healthy diet at this time of year, and you won’t have to feel guilty about a thing!

Winter recipes are often filled with hearty vegetables and carbs to help us stay warm and because they are often in vast supply due to the autumn harvesting country wide. But instead of eating at random and simply indulging, we should take advantage of all the amazing nutrients these foods have to offer, which range from kale to dark chocolate, and plan our winter diet according to our needs, preventing the call for extreme January dieting, which can often be unhealthy and non-commital – I know, I have tried.

When we talk about setting our January ‘New Year’s resolutions’, we make assumptions that we will have the motivation and time to utilise or proposed lifestyle, when really the key may be to start getting in the swing of things now and gradually integrate a healthy diet into your lifestyle. Christmas time is a great time to do this, as we often like to try new recipes and most of us will always budget extra for filling our fridge at this time of year – not to mention that there are plenty of super foods on offer across markets and supermarkets alike!

Here is a list of super foods that are less than 40 calories each, which are all full of either vitamins, anti-oxidants, both or are packed with nutrients, that can all make up the healthiest diet, but not deprive you of a traditional holiday diet.

The list includes:

Arugula (like rocket leaves), Asparagus, Broccoli, Sprouts, Cabbage, Lettuce, Beetroot, Cauliflower, Coffee, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Courgette, Spinach, Lemon, Lime, Kale, Garlic, Onion, Radishes, Fennel, Celery, Berries, Carrots, Avocado, Salmon, Mackerel, Brown Rice, Pears, Grapes, Red wine (in sensible quantities), Legumes, Lentils, Pearl Barley, Bananas, Eggs, Nuts and Seeds especially almonds and sunflower seeds which are packed with skin goodness, Chick peas, Pine Nuts, Oranges, Dark Chocolate, Feta or Goats Cheese, Chicken and Turkey (prepared in the correct way and not fried!), Tofu, Sweet Potatoes, Artichoke, Oat Milk, Cottage Cheese (a great source of protein!) and a selection of healthy teas such as white tea, black tea, green tea, nettle tea or burdock tea, which can help cleanse your body and help with digestion.

I know what you’re thinking… “thanks for writing my shopping list!” …well, you’re welcome. All of these foods could have you fighting fit and as you can see, most are almost always included in many Christmas themed dishes – including the favourite and traditional roast, which is a great opportunity to pack in some tasty veg!

Obviously to make you’re diet work, like in any healthy lifestyle, you will also have to try and keep up with at least 20 mins heart pumping exercise a day. If you’re looking to improve your skin, some professionals recommend that you avoid certain dairy products, saturated fats and red meat as it is thought that the fats can often cause break outs and have been known to worsen acne, and are generally not the best foods to eat if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

More advice on these tips can be found on our Lifestyle tips page and you can also visit the links below to read more about the best super foods for your skin, and for your new found healthy lifestyle. Healthy Holidays = Happy Holidays!

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20640804,00.html

http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/features/health-fitness/2011/02/top-20-skin-clearing-foods