Writing your list and checking it twice? If you are hitting the shops to do a spot of Christmas shopping this weekend, then I have a few ideas in my Christmas Shopping Survival Guide that might help to keep your energy levels fuelled.

Hydrate yourself:

The first sign of dehydration can be fatigue and flagging energy levels, so pack a water bottle into your shopping bags and take a sip between shops to keep your water levels topped up.

Set yourself up well with a good breakfast:

A protein-based brekkie like scrambled eggs on toast is ideal to help manage blood sugar levels with the aim of keeping your energy up. Add some avocado, spinach or cherry tomatoes to help you reach your five-a-day target. If that’s not to your taste, then add a tablespoonful of nuts and seeds to your usual cereal or porridge for a little protein boost.

Choose your snacks:

When you stop for a comfort break, grab a quality snack to maintain and sustain your flagging energy and keep stress under control. Avoid sugary snacks and refined carbohydrate like croissants and mince pies, and instead opt for some natural yoghurt and fruit, a protein bar or even just a handful of nuts and a banana.

… and your hot beverage:

If you are starting to feel a bit irritable and grumpy mid-morning, then swap your favourite coffee to a mug of green tea. Green tea contains a natural relaxant called l-theanine, so tends not to make us feel as jittery as a cappuccino or Americano.

Some coffee shops are now offering turmeric latte with almond or coconut milk. Turmeric has been shown to support digestive health and balance inflammation and this healthy drink is a better alternative to the calorie laden festive drinks on offer at this time of year.

Take a lunch break:

Stop for lunch and treat yourself to a nourishing bowl of soup or stew or a winter salad of leafy greens like kale and broccoli with fish or chicken. Packing in plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables helps nourish our immune systems to help fight coughs and colds. Get as much colour into your lunch as possible, and take time out to relax a little before you tackle the next round of retail therapy.

Unwind afterwards:

When the shopping list comes to an end, go home, put your feet up and sit down with a cup of relaxing herbal or green tea. Choose chamomile or lemon balm with natural calming properties.

HEALTHY STOCKING FILLERS

If you are stuck for ideas, here are a few healthy stocking fillers you might like to add to your shopping list this weekend.

:: Herbal teas: Most tea makers have special selections for the festive season. Take a look at local brand Suki tea for some inspiration.

:: Non-spill water bottle: An essential bit of kit as we all do our best to avoid single-use plastic bottles.

:: Good quality olive oil: This is a treat for someone who loves good food.

:: Viridian 7 day Sugar detox kit: This pack contains a chromium and cinnamon complex to help take the edge off sugar cravings, the perfect stocking filler for the post-Christmas sugar comedown.

:: Cookbooks: Always a winner for anyone interested in food and nutrition.

:: Satsumas: The classic stocking filler, packed with fibre and antioxidants, that has stood the test of time.

:: Raw chocolate: An indulgent treat without the guilt of sugar.

:: Mixed nuts in their shells: A traditional pressie packed with omega 3 and protein.

:: Mini pot of coconut oil: Ideal for travelling to use for cooking, or as a beauty product for skin, lips and hair.

The blog post first appeared as an article in The Irish News on Saturday 1 December 2018.