Festive foods to recharge the batteries

Yogurt in a jarFrequent business travel can leave us with little time to focus on our health and wellbeing but in the bit of extra time off over the festive holiday season, we can re-charge those batteries.  Lots of festive foods are brimming with super nutritious deliciousness.

Nutritious Additions to the Festive Menu

Granola with yoghurt and fruit.  Homemade granola is the best, but we can cheat by choosing a quality commercial brand and adding extra seeds, nuts and fruit.  Thawed frozen blueberries are brilliant.  They are picked at peak ripeness, and the rapid ‘harvest to freeze’ process ensures maximum preservation of nutrients.  Frozen blueberries have been found to have higher levels of polyphenols, anthocyanins and vitamin C than those from chilled storage.

Add bio yoghurt to our granola to get extra calcium, protein and acidophilus bacteria to keep our gut flora in good shape.

Juicy Oranges

This is the best time of year for regular juicy oranges and smaller clementines.  One small clementine satisfies most of our daily requirement for Vitamin C, and by eating the whole fruit, rather than a glass of juice, we get dietary fibre from cell walls and avoid the sugar rush of fruit juice.

Smoked salmon with smashed avocado on multigrain or sourdough toast, tastes amazing.   Avocado contains monounsaturated fats and the antioxidant vitamin E.  One serving of smoked salmon contains roughly our entire daily requirement of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is essential to maintain strong bones but also has roles in immune function and inflammation reduction.  Salmon is a great source of iodine which, like Vitamin D is a nutrient in which canape with salted salmonwe can become mildly deficient.


A bowl of nuts in shells looks festive while providing a snack packed with essential nutrients.  Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts contain lots of mono and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fibre, several B vitamins, vitamin E and the antioxidant mineral selenium.

Pistachios are a far better nibble with drinks than regular salted roasted nuts or crisps.  They are particularly high in protein, contain the phytochemical resveratrol and best of all, the portion eaten is small due to the small size and time took removing the shells.

Good Hydration

Don’t overdo the caffeine and alcohol; it’s good practice to keep a range interesting alternative beverages available.  Malted milk drinks make a nourishing snack.  Moroccan style mint tea, brewed in a pot with a little regular black tea and a large bunch of fresh mint, will serve a group and is delicious.   Chilled cordials made up with fizzy water make a refreshing alternative to alcohol, and regular tap water is hard to beat.

Catch up on sleep

A bit of downtime over the holiday season is the perfect time to rest.  When business travel has disrupted our regular sleep patterns, a few early nights can work wonders.

A Festive Season break from the hurly-burly of work and travel gives us the gift of time to focus on restoring our health and wellbeing.

Very best wishes for a peaceful, rejuvenating Festive Season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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