If one just can't resist eating too much in Spain throughout the year, eating right and staying healthy is practically impossible during the holiday season due to the delicious and vast amount of typical holiday dishes and sweets. Practically impossible we say because we don't really want you to miss out on all the fun and the amazing food. What we can offer you however are healthy holiday eating tips on how to compensate for the heavy meals, desserts and too much vino.
The winter holidays in Spain are synonymous with food. Everywhere you go, restaurants and bars, even at the office, you will be offered special appetizers, sweets or be invited out for a “copita de Navidad”. Saying no politely is one way to stay off the snacks and the extra glass of wine but make sure you have a good reason not to. It'll be hard to get away, but know that you have our list of tricks to eating right and staying fit.
How to Compensate
Luckily, Spain is also known for its vegetables, oven-baked dishes and fresh and juicy fruit, so you can always balance out your meals by having a lighter and more nutritious dinner if you had a heavy meal at lunchtime or vice versa.
You can also compensate by eating your food more slowly, making sure you squeeze in some exercise and by drinking plenty of water.
One way you shouldn't try to compensate is by skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner, in preparation for an excessive meal. The only thing that will happen is you'll devour, probably much, more than you ever intended.
As soon as you wake up, try exercising or walking to work, school, the local supermarket or on your way to run errands or do a little Reyes shopping. Medical experts recommend about 30 minutes a day.
Make sure you know the dates of the dinner or lunch parties you'll want to attend so you can organise healthy snacks or meals at home before and after.
Yes, go ahead and try the turrón or mazapán (we would never begrudge you this pleasure), but try to avoid having more than one or two pieces. After all, moderation is key. If you struggle in this department and can’t possibly resist tucking into a full bar, make sure to look after your teeth with proper brushing habits and regular dental check-ups. It could be a good idea to take out private dental insurance. Take a look at the different types offered by Caser.
During Christmas and Reyes, there are plenty of typical dishes such as lombarda (red cabbage) or steamed artichokes, which are healthier than their fried counterpart and offer a range of health benefits.
- Try to avoid snacking and eating too much bread. It’s a challenge, we know, but if you want to eat right, you'll have to make some sacrifices.
- Alcohol is your sworn enemy. Alcoholic beverages have heaps of calories, but you can always ask for a glass of sidra or cava, which are less fattening than beer or wine. Bear in mind that cider in Spain is different to the kind sold in America, for example, which doesn't have alcohol.
- No leftovers. Even if your host insists, don’t take home the leftovers.
- Other dishes that will help you digest and balance out heftier meals are the delicious and warm caldos (broths), seafood and healthy salads.
We are fully aware that this is by no means an easy feat, but at least you now have a few healthy holiday eating tips to keep you on the right path by compensating for heavy meals and eating right during the festive season. After all, our health is our wealth, which is why it’s important to have good health insurance in the event that something goes wrong. Caser has a range of insurance types that make sure everyone’s needs are met. Check them out here. Good luck and happy holidays!