Shoppers could save themselves up to £100 if they eat a proper meal before hitting the high street this Christmas, according to one of the UK’s leading nutritionists.

In a study commissioned by London food hall and restaurant Esca, Dr Sarah Schenker found that the concentration levels of shoppers who fail to eat the correct foods crash well before those who have eaten a nutritious breakfast and top up their energy levels as they shop.

Schenker found a link between diet and spend, with stamina levels and focus of those not eating the correct foods starting to wane within 2-3 hours of shopping, causing them to rush around the shops and spend more.

‘With the average Brit spending around £320 on presents over the festive period*, this can result in shoppers over-spending by up to a third of their total gift spend, as their resolve fails them and they grab the nearest presents they can find.

‘Most people aren’t aware that you burn off around 151 calories an hour Christmas shopping,” continued Sarah. ‘This is around the same amount one burns when weight training for an hour or playing tennis for half an hour. With an average Christmas shopping trip lasting six hours, shoppers must put good fuel back in to their bodies be able to keep going.”

In advance of one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, Esca has worked with Dr. Schenker to develop the perfect ‘Yule Fuel’ shopping diet.

Charmaine Wasif who runs Esca in London’s new Westfield Shopping Centre says: “It’s common for people to come into the food hall at half past eleven in the morning completely drained of energy. They make a sprinting start at 9am and just can’t keep up the pace – really people just need to get the right food into them so they can give the shops their best shot and get it over with.”

Food fuel

Charmaine recommends the following meal options, taken from Esca’s Yule Fuel menu, for a day’s Christmas shopping:

Breakfast (Eat this when you are at the shops so you can use all the energy from the breakfast in shopping, not travelling)
Smoked salmon & eggs on toasted good quality sourdough or 100% rye & fresh lemon
Lean gammon and eggs with good quality sourdough, grilled mushrooms & tomatoes
Drink green, chamomile, fresh mint or fennel tea
Lunch (Don’t leave this until you are flagging! Eat three hours after you start shopping)
Soups full of Low GI rich foods such as pumpkin with flaked almond, lemongrass chicken or mackerel and baby spinach
Poached salmon, fresh spinach and horseradish in a sunflower torpedo
Falafel, taboule, homous rocket & tomato with tortilla

Keep going

Afternoon snack (If you are still shopping three hours after lunch you will begin to get tired and start making the wrong shopping choices – give your body a boost with any left over lunch bits or one of the following):
Dried fruit
Low sugar cereal bars
Lower fat fruit biscuits or muffins
Unsalted mixed nuts
Finally, don’t forget to drink…
It is supremely important that you keep up your fluid intake to maintain focus. Throughout a full day’s shopping you should drink a minimum of 3 x 500ml water – if you are bored of water, try buying sparkling water and good quality apple juice – drink (or tip away) some of the water and top up with the juice…Sip as you go along, don’t wait to be thirsty.

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