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How to Eat More Mindfully this Christmas

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The festive season usually brings more opportunities to eat, drink and be merry. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be difficult to avoid the yo-yo of overindulging at Christmas followed by over-restriction once the new year comes. As a Nutritionist I hate hearing foods referred to as good or bad and the automatic associations of guilt with foods we enjoy indulging in from time to time.

I’m a firm believer that we should value all foods as an important, enjoyable and integral part of the diet. It’s not about good v’s bad, guilt-free v’s guilty or treats v’s superfoods. Christmas doesn’t have to be about non-stop stuffing our faces and lounging on the sofa. It is possible to create balance, even at times of celebrations, and to enjoy the food and festivities of Christmas without feelings of guilt or dissatisfaction.

Here’s my tip of how to do exactly that….

  • Allow yourself the mince pies, chocolates and mulled wine if that’s what you want. Telling yourself not to eat the things you want usually ends up in overcompensating by eating more of other foods and inevitably we still go back to the mince pies or chocolates because that’s what we wanted in the first place. Try not to think of these foods as ‘bad’ choices. There is absolutely no shame in enjoying the things you enjoy.  
  • If you’re not hungry, but finding it hard to avoid mindlessly snacking on food at a party just because it’s there, simply try moving a little further away once you’ve had enough. Research suggests that we consume less when food is moved further away.
  • It can be easy to overeat at buffets or parties when the food keeps coming. Pay attention to the food you’re eating. Enjoy each mouthful and take it all in. Not just the taste but the look, feel and smell of the food too. Paying attention to what you’re eating can help you to enjoy each bite and be more mindful of when you have had enough.
  • Variety is key and that doesn’t stop at Christmas. It may be a boring old message but variety is always important. Fill your plate with a variety of foods (ones you like!) and go for a rainbow of colours where possible.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables is about as balanced as they come. Enjoy your roast with all the trimmings. Revel in each mouthful and aim to recognise how full you are feeling. Being more in-tune with your hunger and fullness cues is a big achievement for mindful eating.
  • If you’re worried about over doing to booze try alternating every alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
  • Don’t neglect the power of movement and exercise. Not only is physical activity good for your body but it’s good for the mind too. Even something as simple as a short walk down the road can help to boost your mood and prepare you for another games of charades with great aunt Margaret!

Festive Foods for the Whole Family

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My Christmas wouldn’t be the same without mulled wine, mince pies and chocolates hanging from the tree but I don’t want it to only be about those things.

For my kids, especially, I will always strive to make this time of year a happy and memorable one. A trip to the grotto, advent calendars, carols around the tree and Christmas parties galore, sure, but it troubles me when every one of these festivities results oodles of sweets and chocolates. I’m not saying never give the sugary foods but why do we do it so much more at times of celebrations? Doesn’t associating celebrations with sugar make the sweet foods more exciting and more desirable? Doesn’t it instil the idea that celebrations are a time to put usual eating habits aside and fuel up on whatever takes your fancy?

I believe we can encourage our children to build positive relationships with food by having a balanced approach all year round. Let’s use celebrations as a time to get creative with all types of food not a time to push aside healthy eating habits in favour of buckets of chocolates.  

If you fancy having a go at some balanced food creations this Christmas here’s a little inspiration for you..

Fruit Tree

A great centre piece for your festive spread this colourful fruit tree is perfect for nibbling on and a good reminder that just because it’s Christmas the 5-a-day message should not be ignored.

Santa Face

These appetising Santas are made using a round cracker, salami slice shaped into a Santa hat, cream cheese piping for the beard and hat trim, celery slices for a moustache and currants for the eyes and nose. Top tip – mixed the cream cheese with a little natural yoghurt first to make it easier to work with and put a dot of the mixture on the back of the salami slice to help it stick to the cracker.

Cheesy Rudolph

Soft cheese triangles with pretzel antlers, currant eyes and red pepper for the all-important red nose. These tasty snacks are almost too cute to eat and super easy to make too.

Pitta Bread Christmas Tree

Spread a whole pitta bread with mashed avocado or guacamole then using a pastry cutter or sharp knife cut into a Christmas tree shape. It’s beast to spread on the avocado first as you will get a cleaner finish to the shape of the tree. We used red pepper for star on top of the tree but you could use whatever fruit or vegetable works best for you. Then complete the decoration by using a tube of tomato puree pipe on some tinsel.

Fruity Mince Pies

Who doesn’t love a mince pie at Christmas? Check out my mince pie recipe with added carrot and apple for extra taste and juiciness as well as added fibre and nutrients

Fruit Mince Pies
Pastry375g wholemeal plain flour260g unsalted butter1 egg yolk plus a beaten egg for glazing1 tbsp cold waterFilling1 small jar of mincemeat (300g)2 carrots finely grated2 dessert apples finely grated

Method

Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Grease 24 holes of 2 12 hole bun tins

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs or mix in a food processor.  

Add the egg yolk and mix until the pastry comes together to form a ball. If needed add the cold water at this stage to help bring the pastry together

Avoid handling the pastry too much as it can make the pastry become tough.

Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Finely grate the carrots and apples, you can leave the skins on, and add to the mincemeat – mix well.

Once rested roll out the pastry and cut out 24 round bases for each pie plus 24 small stars for the top.

Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat mixture into each pie and top with the stars.

Glaze each star with a beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry has browned and the filing is bubbling and caramelised.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks

The pies can be kept in an airtight container for 4-5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

And remember festive games, songs, dressing up and decorations are just as much part of the fun.

12 Mummy Tips for Christmas

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Christmas can be a stressful time of year, there is so much going on – from parties, planning the big day, present buying – not to mention school admin goes into overdrive so how can you take away some of the stress?

We think you need to plan, plan and plan some more. With planning in advance you can take away a lot of the thinking on the spot and that way much of the stress.  Don’t forget, it’s your Christmas too.

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The Launch of the Mummy Space 🎉

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Today we were thrilled to officially launch ‘The Mummy Space’. We spent the morning at Harris & Hoole in Brooklands chatting to members of the public about who we are and what we will bring to Surrey.

So, what is The Mummy Space? The Mummy Space is a community of tried & tested, talented experts to support Mums: mind, body and soul. The Mummy Space is for Mums and mums to be at any stage of pregnancy and motherhood. Whether you’ve just given birth or have grown up children The Mummy Space has a range of experts and professionals to support you with the physical, mental and emotional challenges of motherhood.

 

What can we do for you?

The Body Space allows you to reconnect with your body – feel stronger, happier and healthier. It includes: Physiotherapy, nutrition, personal training, buggy fit, core restore classes, yoga, pilates

The Head Space allows you to rediscover who you are, redefine you goals and feel back in-control of you and your life again. It includes: Life coaching (career and confidence), counselling (general & with specialism in birth PTSD, PND & Mum specific issues)

The Feel Good Space allows you to take some time to pamper and treat yourself & your family. It includes: Beauty therapy, amazing lashes, and family photography

The Support Space provides support to help you birth and raise your child. It includes: Birth (doula and midwifery), breastfeeding, weaning & fussy eating, children’s pelvic health, employment law to help with return to work.

To find out more about our experts have a browse on our site and follow us on social media, we are on Facebook and Instagram.