Golden rules for eating healthy over Christmas

Over the festive season we are confronted with delicious food, and a lot of it too. /Net Photo

It’s that time of year again – Christmas! 

From family dinners, to work Christmas parties, to end of year get-togethers. Christmas really is the season to be eating, drinking and being merry!

Not only does Christmas bring out the festive spirit in us all, for some it can also be an anxious time, grappling with the thought of ‘am I going to gain weight?’. Justified by the thought of ‘oh well its Christmas time, I’m allowed to’. We tend to let go of any restraint which leads us to overeat and over drink.

But Christmas does not have to be the end to your healthy eating or weight loss efforts! If we implement a few (5 to be exact) golden rules over this festive season, it will roll past without the morning-after guilt. And you can stay on track with all the hard work you put in over 2018!

GOLDEN RULES

1. Start with ½ plate of vegetables

Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, these guys will help bulk and volumise your plate, making it look and feel like you are eating a bigger meal (but without the extra calories). By filling your plate first with vegetables or salad, this also leaves less room for other not so healthy food choices.

Scenarios:

If you know there are not going to be many vegetable options at a BBQ or dinner party you are invited to, why not offer to bring along a nice salad or vegetable dish?

Make vegetables and salads fresh and fun. Adding fruits to salads like mango, is not only delicious but bound to be a family favourite.

2. Plan, plan, plan and plan some more

Over the festive season take five minutes or so to sit down and devise a ‘plan of action’. Go through and make notes of every party, function, gathering or social activity that you know will involve food. Use this to set yourself some food and drink priorities. Ask yourself where you really want to spend your energy budget? This will help to not only prevent overindulgence, but also to ensure you have the opportunity to enjoy the food too!

Scenarios:

Know that you are going to big family lunch? Why not have a light breakfast like fruit salad and yoghurt?

Attending a four-course dinner party? Why not skip a course?

You know there will be a lot of nibbles at the gathering? Focus on eating the vegetable snacks, or pick a couple of things to really enjoy.

Two parties in one day? Decide ahead of time what you want your plate to look like.

3. Never go to a party hungry

Don’t skip a meal or a snack and go to a party hungry because you are scared that you’ll over do your calorie budget. Have a light snack or meal instead. This will reduce the likelihood of being starving hungry if the food is late and then over eating or, hoeing down on the dips and crackers before the main meal even begins.

Scenarios:

Try eating a piece of fruit or try this watermelon salsa before you head off to the party.

Try keeping a trail mix combo in your bag or car, for a quick on the go snack.

4. Stop when you are full

Over the festive season we are confronted with delicious food, and a lot of it too! Don’t let this be an excuse to lose touch with your hunger. It’s important to continue to listen to your body, and stop eating when you are satisfied. By listening to your hunger cues, this can help reduce overindulgence and that feeling like you are going to roll out of an event rather than walk.

Scenarios:

Can’t stand throwing food away (especially delicious food)? That’s okay, put it in a container for the next day.

Ask yourself if having that extra plateful, bowlful or mouthful of food will leave you feeling better or worse.

Why not have a go at making a nourish plate with your leftovers the day after?

5. Keep moving

Keeping active and fit over the festive season is a must. Whether it be beach volleyball, backyard soccer or a quick gym session – just keep moving!

Agencies

 

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