The holiday season is when many of us struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food. The temptation of all those parties & family gatherings packed with treats are extremely enticing and while some people diet before to allow themselves room to indulge others just resign themselves to a frugal January.
The truth is that neither way is good for your overall health and weight gained over the holiday period is notoriously hard to shift. So here’s a few tips on how to enjoy yourself and still maintain healthy habits over the festive period.
1. Try substituting healthier options into your recipes – choose a low, or non-fat option instead of the full fat version. For example if something is topped with cheese, reach for the low fat version.
2. Always eat before you go out – a light, healthy snack will help reduce your risk of over eating. It’s also important not to ‘save’ up your calories during the day. By the time dinner arrives you’ll be so hungry that you’ll eat far more than you would have if you’d eaten regularly during the day.
3. Fill up on fibre & protein – fibre rich foods and lean protein will keep you feeling fuller much longer than sweets and junk foods will.
4. Have a plan – it’s the simple way to help cut down on eating too many of the wrong foods. If you don’t think there will be any healthy options at the party, fill up on a healthy snack before you go or plan to go for lighter vegetable dishes first.
5. Take your focus off food – Our time is often filled with cooking and baking this time of year, so help reduce temptation and try substituting these activities with something different such as wreath making or an art project. Instead of holding a cocktail party, organise a physical activity that you can do with friends, like going for a walk or ice skating.
6. Be wary of beverages – Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can be full of calories, carbs, and sugar so choose a low or no sugar option. Alcohol can also lessen your inhibitions and lead to poor eating choices. A wine spritzer (wine and soda mix) is a great way to slow alcohol consumption and reduce sugar intake. Alternating your drinks with water will also help keep you hydrated and the sugar/carb and alcohol consumption balanced.
7. And finally – stop worrying! – Don’t beat yourself up if you do have that extra slice of cake, it’s not the end of the world. This is a time to celebrate with friends and family, so relish your time together and savour the food you eat, both healthy and non-healthy.