Tag Archives: christmas

Do not bring us the Figgy Pudding!

Christmas is a notorious time for overindulgence and expanding waistbands. Research suggests that weight gain over the 4 week Christmas period can be as much as 2kg, which is an awful lot of mince pies! Whilst most people do not maintain this level of overindulgence throughout the year (not to mention the New Years resolution to shift those creeping pounds) there are a few festive foods for the health conscious, which are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed (nearly) guilt free!

1. Clementines– A popular fruit at Christmas, this little gem is packed with vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and dietary fibre. They are naturally high in sugar but swap a few mince pies for these when you crave something sweet, at only 35 calories each they are a saintly snack.

2. Chestnuts – Often overshadowed by their popular counterpart-the Brussels sprout, this nut contains high levels of vitamin C, lower fat content than other types of nut and high levels of minerals, in particular potassium. Potassium is highly rated for helping lower blood pressure (often running high in the stressful Christmas season) and heart rate.

3. Carrots– Rudolph’s preferred mid-present delivery snack. From the taproot family of vegetables, high in vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which helps with visual function and frontline bodily defense against infections and diseases. These will help keep away the dreaded ‘Christmas colds’ and other festive spirit-dampening ailments.

4. Turkey– Trussed and carved, the ultimate centrepiece for any Christmas Dinner table. Turkey is a lean meat which is low in saturated fat but high in protein and phosphorus which is essential for bone and teeth growth, not to mention it is a main component of every body cell.

5. Brussels Sprouts – Either love them or hate them, this Christmas dinner Brassica is without doubt full of good things (even if they smell somewhat suspect). Sprouts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K can be found in each one of these little green machines, which has been found to help limit neuronal damage and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!

6. Parsnips – This taproot is a classic Christmas dinner vegetable. High in fibre( but also natural sugars) this vegetable contains folic acid, vitamin b-6 and pentathenic acid which is known for it’s stress busting properties. Perfect after slaving away in a hot kitchen with hungry mouths to feed!

7. Cranberries – This berry is often sidelined to a table sauce at Christmas, which is high in sugar but the berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They contain Manganese, a mineral known for health benefits such as maintaining healthy bones and sugar levels, promoting optimal functioning of the thyroid and for helping the body absorb other key nutrients.

8. Cinnamon – this fragrant spice is full of antioxidants, essential oils and minerals. It has been used for centuries in medicine for its antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has the highest anti-oxidant level for all natural foods, combating nasty free-radicals. Cinnamon has also been found to have anti-clotting properties, helping reduce the risk of strokes and coronary disease.

9. Smoked salmon – This cured fish is a popular choice for a celebratory brunch or Christmas Party canapés. High in omega-3, this food can help with brain function, cell function and improved cardiovascular function. Other benefits from Omega-3 include improved joint operation and some research has shown it to help alleviate symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.

Top 10 tips to relax this Christmas!

Christmas Day is very much upon us, and with just 12 days to go, the Christmas spirit is very much in  full flow. Everyone will start to feel the stress levels increase, and our lives become jam packed with Christmas shopping, seeing family, and meeting end of work deadlines. Amongst all the “busyness” we often forgetting that our bodies and minds need time to stop, unwind and relax.

We touched on this topic lastyear, and the positive feedback from our Twitter followers (@healthyhideout) encouraged us to post an updated version. Why not try a few of the Healthy Hideout’s top 10 ways to unwind this festive month:

Find yourself a little quiet time

Before continuing with anything after arriving home from the office, be sure to spend at least 5 minutes sitting in a quiet place to relax your mind. Close your eyes and breath deeply during this time. It will allow your mind to empty the stress of the working day.

Make the work commute fun!

Enjoy this time by yourself in the car or on the train doing something you enjoy. Why not try taking your favourite novel to work and reading through a few chapters, or perhaps listen to a few of your favourite  musical numbers. You could even throw in a few Christmas classics for good measure!

Try to write everything down

If you have too many things on your mind, or are trying to juggle too many tasks, grab a pen and notepad and start to jot things down. Give yourself a quick time frame for each task, and then work through them one step at a time. There’s simply no point in trying to remember 100 things at once!

Keep your home tidy

Clutter around the house can quickly become overwhelming, and can often make you feel like you’re out of control. Take a few minutes each day to tidy away any mess, and try to keep on top of general cleaning bit by bit.

Leave work, at work

Try to avoid bringing any work from the office to your home. Mixing your working life with the comforts of your home can quickly become stressful. If you must bring work home, try to limit yourself to just a few nights a week.

Drop it at the front door

Get yourself a container or box large enough to hold your work bag or office brief case and place it next to the front door. When you get in from work, put it all in the box and don’t touch it until the next working day.

Take a bath or sauna

The bathroom is often one room in the house with a catch or lock on the door. Run yourself a nice hot bath, lock the door and escape for at least 1 hour. It’ll do wonders for your stress.

Spread your chores

Try not to pack all your “must-do” chores into a single evening. Try doing the laundry one evening, followed by Christmas shopping the next night. Spreading the load makes it easier to handle.

Recognise the ritual

Set yourself a standard “start to the evening” that you’ll look forward to at the end of each day. Even if it’s something as simple as a cup of tea at the dining table. At this point, you know your evening has officially begun.

Play it loud!

Playing enjoyable fun music throughout your home, lifts both you and your families spirits! A few sing-along Christmas carols can’t hurt, so be sure to re inject the Christmas spirit into your home!

With these tips, you’ll find the uncountable stress of Christmas becoming easier to manage. Remember this is the season to be jolly, and Christmas is meant to be enjoyed. How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Many of us at the Healthy Hideout already have our Christmas Trees up!

Top Tips to escape Trans Fats this Christmas!

For many of us, there will be an abundance of food around the house this Christmas and it’s not difficult to get carried away. One of the key elements to try and avoid this festive season are the man made fats known as trans fats.

Trans fats are produced during hydrogenation: a chemical process that manufacturers use to convert vegetable oils into semi-solid fats.  This helps to extend the shelf life of the food and tends to give food a creamier taste. Cutting out these trans fats could reduce UK deaths from from heart disease by up to 20 percent! Take a look at the Healthy Hideout’s top tips for keeping the trans fats at bay this Christmas:

  1. When choosing margarine for baking or sandwiches, try to keep away from hard block recipes, looking out for brands that have low trans fat content. If you can’t see this information, look out for hydrogenated fat or oil levels.
  2. When light frying in the pan, use a good quality olive oil rather than sunflower or vegetable. It’s that much better for you!
  3. When preparing side salads for Boxing Day lunch why not try Sunflower seeds or chopped pumpkin seeds instead of bacon bits – Bacon bits are soaked in trans fat!
  4. If you feel a craving for something savoury whilst watching your favourite Christmas movie, try substituting potato chips and crisps for something a little more imaginative. Peanut butter smeared on celery sticks is a great option!
  5. Try spending a little more time in the fresh food aisles of the supermarket – Research has shown that foods with high trans fat content are kept in the centre of the supermarket.
  6. Substitute the goose fat soaked roast potatoes for jacket potatoes this Christmas. Jacket potatoes are naturally low in fat and high in carbohydrate.
  7. If you need to stock up on processed foods such as biscuits, cereals or desserts try to stick to lower-fat versions of them. It may seem a little tedious, but it really is worth it!
  8. Make your own – Here at the Healthy Hideout, we can’t encourage making your own baked goods enough! Try your cakes, muffins and biscuits and pack them with contents that you enjoy whilst keeping the trans fats to a minimum!

We don’t want to start scaring you into thinking Christmas is just one big opportunity to gain weight, because it isn’t. It’s a time to be enjoyed and remembered! Just try to keep long term health in perspective – Your heart will thank you for it!

10 ways to unwind this Christmas!

As the Christmas period starts to swing into full flow, our lives will start to become increasingly busier, often forgetting that our bodies and minds need time to stop, unwind and relax.

Relax this festive season!

Relax this festive season!

We know that the Christmas shopping needs to be done, family visits need to be organised and penciled into the diary, and Christmas menus need to be planned.  Why not try a few of the Healthy Hideout’s top 10 ways to unwind this festive month;

  1. Have some quiet time – Before continuing with anything after arriving home from the office, be sure to spend at least 5 minutes sitting in a quiet place to relax your mind. Close your eyes and breath deeply during this time. It will allow your mind to empty the stress of the working day.
  2. Make the work commute fun – Enjoy this time by yourself in the car or on the train doing something you enjoy. Why not try taking your favourite novel to work and reading through a few chapters, or perhaps listen to a few of your favourite musical numbers. You could even throw in a few Christmas classics for good measure!
  3. Write things down – If you have too many things on your mind, or are trying to juggle too many tasks, grab a pen and notepad and start to jot things down. Give yourself a quick time frame for each task, and then work through them one step at a time. There’s simply no point in trying to remember 100 things at once!
  4. Tidy your home – Clutter around the house can quickly become overwhelming, and can often make you feel like you’re out of control. Take a few minutes each day to tidy away any mess, and try to keep on top of general cleaning bit by bit.
  5. Leave work, at work – Try to avoid bringing any work from the office to your home. Mixing your working life with the comforts of your home can quickly become stressful. If you must bring work home, try to limit yourself to just a few nights a week.
  6. Drop it at the front door – Get yourself a container or box large enough to hold your work bag or office brief case and place it next to the front door. When you get in from work, put it all in the box and don’t touch it until the next working day.
  7. Take a bath – The bathroom is often one room in the house with a catch or lock on the door. Run yourself a nice hot bath, lock the door and escape for at least 1 hour. It’ll do wonders for your stress.
  8. Spread your chores – Try not to pack all your “must-do” chores into a single evening. Try doing the laundry one evening, followed by Christmas shopping the next night. Spreading the load makes it easier to handle.
  9. Recognise the ritual – Set yourself a standard “start to the evening” that you’ll look forward to at the end of each day. Even if it’s something as simple as a cup of tea at the dining table. At this point, you know your evening has officially begun.
  10. Play it loud – Playing enjoyable fun music throughout your home, lifts both you and your families spirits! A few sing-along Christmas carols can’t hurt now can they?

With these tips, you’ll find the uncountable stress of Christmas becoming easier to manage. Remember this is the season to be jolly, and Christmas is meant to be enjoyed. How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Is your Christmas tree up yet?