Eating over the festive season
Many of us will be socialising with family and friends, making a fool of ourselves at the office party and completely forgetting our healthy eating plans.
Christmas represents serious temptation, but it doesn’t have to seriously affect our waistlines. Following these tips will help you maintain your weight instead of having to start all over again in the New Year.
1. Plan ahead!
The most important thing to accept is that you’re more likely to eat and drink more than normal on a number of days over the festive period. By planning ahead you can balance this out with healthier habits at other times.
• Clearly highlight all the parties and events you are planning to attend over the Christmas period, noting the occasions that are likely to be more indulgent than others;
• Make a note of when you can fit exercise in;
• Point out days and meals when you won’t be pressured or influenced by others. Make a special effort to eat healthy meals during this time to balance your indulgences.
2. Before the party
• Decide ahead of time how indulgent you're going to be and plan around this. Maybe consider having two courses instead of three;
• Don't skip breakfast or lunch; this will stop you from feeling hungrier later more tempted to overeat;
• Grab a quick healthy snack before you go to the party so you don’t feel famished. This will stop you from overeating;
• Make your own healthy foods to bring to the party; at least you’ll know that there’s one healthy item on the menu.
3. At the party
• Set a rule that you can only go to the buffet table once;
• Stand away from tempting bowls of crisps, chocolates and nuts;
• Study the menu and aim for grilled or baked foods and avoid fried and roasted foods;
• Avoid anything that says: creamy, crispy, or fried. Order your sauces on the side. Choose as many veggie options as possible- vegetable soup is a great starter but avoid cream-based ones! Choose wholemeal bread rolls over white;
• Order a side of vegetables and make sure you eat them all! It’s better to fill up on these than the calorie dense foods;
• Having dessert? Why not try the fruit-based option;
• If you really can’t resist the rich chocolate gateau, why not ask for two spoons. Sharing is caring!
• Try to listen to your natural appetite cues; if you’re stuffed put your fork / spoon down.
• Not only does alcohol contain seven calories per gram but it also increases your appetite. Make sure you have your drink along with or after your meal to avoid over-indulging;
• Have a lower calorie beer like Budweiser Select 55, Beck's Premier Light;
• If you’re drinking spirits, remember to stick to diet mixers or have a tomato juice mixer;
• Drink water between alcoholic drinks. Not only will this save you calories it’ll also reduce the likelihood of a hangover!
• Take a break from drinking during the night to go dancing or have a chat with a friend;
• Volunteer to be the designated driver!
• It’s hard to even think about exercising over Christmas, but it’s all about getting the balance right! Exercise really helps counter any extra calories and will help you maintain your weight during a time of indulgence;
• Try fun activities that you don’t normally do with your family like ice-skating or swimming on Christmas morning!
• There’s nothing like a brisk walk to freshen you up when you’ve over-done it.
Most importantly, don't attempt to compensate for overeating by starving yourself before or afterwards. Do not feel guilty after over-indulging, instead make healthier choices and do some exercise.
Finally, it’s Christmas so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do over do it!