I recently posted an article with regards to looking after the immune system over the winter and as Christmas approaches, as usual there are a lot of germs lingering around. Unfortunately, the immune system can be exposed at this time of year due to tiredness, a change in your normal patterns of sleep and nutrition so it is important to take extra care. Remember the bigger picture. Consistency is key, and if we can keep fit, injury free throughout this period, we are more likely to go into the new year fresh and ready to focus in on our next training block. Therefore, give yourself some rest time and some family time. I am sure that they will be very grateful for it. Get some sleep rather than getting up at the crack of dawn to get that hard turbo in. You have been doing that all year, so give yourself a break. You will feel more positive about doing it post Xmas knowing you gave yourself a chance to sleep, recharge the batteries and spend some time with the family! And if your local sports center is closed for your normal training sessions, that does not mean you have to fill in those swim sessions with other training activities! Go for a walk with the family, stay in bed, wrap some presents! It will be open next week
In terms of nutrition?
Well of course, there will be plenty of good food to hand, and the worry of easing off on training and eating more calories is that it will result in some extra weight? If so, remember when your key race is! Unlikely that it is in January so time is on your side. Just remember, keep everything in balance. Enjoy a few glasses of wine, but keep hydrated and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Christmas pudding is only around once a year, so enjoy it! Just avoid eating the whole pudding! Get out and keep active with the family, and do not stress about missed sessions due to closures or visiting friends and family. And remember there are lots of nutritious foods on offer as well. So, on that note I will outline below some of the options that will no doubt be on offer over Christmas and the benefits / draw backs of them in terms of their nutritional value!
Have to start with that one. You either love them or hate them, and if like us, only ever eat them at Christmas! However there is a lot to be said for them!
1 cup cooked is approx 65 calories, and they contain fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C. phytochemicals and beta carotene. However, they can cause bloating and flatulence, so sit next to the dog or cat and blame them!
Half a cup of raw carrots is approximately 26 calories, and contains potassium fiber and beta carotene. They say they can help you see in the dark too!
Parsnips ( Has to be one of my favourites roasted.)
A cup of cooked parsnips consist of about 111 calories and are packed full of fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin C and K. If roasted with olive oil, see below for the add on in terms of nutritional value
If you are roasting them, use olive oil if you can as it’s healthy monounsaturated fats, full of antioxidants and has strong anti inflammatory properties. 1 medium potato contains approx 140 calories and provides vitamin C vitamin B6 Magnesium Potassium, Fiber, Chlorogenic acid (anticancer compound) and kukoamines ( compound that may lower blood pressure)
We are fans of roasting squash with sweet potatoes, which have similar nutritional value, and half a baked sweet potato contains approx 80-90 calories, butternut squash has a mere 18 calories (approx) in half a cup of slices. Also added to the nutritional mix here is iron, beta carotene’s, and folate.
Turkey: (for those who are not vegans or vegetarians!)
Choose the leanest cut and Turkey breast is pretty lean, containing approx 110 calories per 3 oz portion, consisting of approx 0.5g of fat. In terms of its nutritional value, there is iron, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and zinc. Don’t forget Local produced Jurassic Coast Meats
For those of you who are vegetarian or vegan, here is a recipe with all the nutritional values as well
If after all of that you still have room for dessert, then enjoy it, and remember, there are a lot of dried fruit and nuts in Christmas cake . Also, there are some fantastic recipes out there for healthier Christmas desserts as well if you want to get creative!
Remember, moderation is the key!
Have a very Happy Christmas and New Year, and fingers crossed for some better weather to enjoy some social rides and coastal runs