“The greatest wealth is health.” ~ Virgil

It can be tricky to protect your health over Christmas so here are some easy to follow Christmas tips to give you some food for thought over the holiday season.

Stub it out! Give up smoking and help your heart. New Year is a good time to do this and after the expense of Christmas, it’s easier on your pocket too.

Get your dancing shoes on Keep active during the festive season and help work off the extra calories. Try going for a brisk walk at lunchtime or why not have some fun and dance away the calories at the Christmas party!

Go low It can be difficult to avoid high-fat food choices at this time of year, but there are some healthier options you can include on the buffet table if you’re entertaining. Healthy examples include vegetable sticks with low fat yogurt or tomato based dips and sandwiches with lower fat fillings, like sliced egg and tomato or low fat spreadable cheese with roasted vegetables.

Cut down The recommended maximum amount of salt per day for adults is 6g (or about 1 teaspoon). So go easy with the chips, salted nuts and other nibbles. It’s also worth getting into the habit of reading the food labels, such as those on pre-prepared party foods, to help you choose the healthiest options.

Eat fruit Fruit makes a great snack which can be eaten anytime of the day. Don’t head off to the work party hungry, as you are likely to be tempted by the less healthy options and may find you eat more than you normally would. Instead, have a healthy snack beforehand such as an apple or a pear, low fat yogurt with dried fruit or a fruit smoothie which will take the edge off your hunger and helping you to make better choices.

Festive cheer Keep within sensible alcohol limits which is no more than 3-4 drinks a day for men and no more than 2-3 drinks a day for women. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with water or pure, unsweetened fruit juice.

Something fishy Oily fish like mackerel and salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which can help protect against heart disease. Salmon makes a special Holiday meal that offers a lighter choice after the other Christmas food and can be eaten hot or cold.

Chill out The build up to Christmas can be stressful and it can cause us to slip back into unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking and drinking more. So take time out to relax, spend some time with friends or go for a stroll in the park and help reach your 30 minutes a day physical activity target at the same time.

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