Christmas is fast approaching, bringing with it a swathe of Christmas parties, gatherings, end of year functions, family events; the list goes on! This time of year (while one of my favourites) can put a strain on a number of areas from our wallets to our belt buckles. The never ending list of seasonal food, free flowing drinks and devil may care attitude can be extremely daunting, particularly for those of us trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
So here are some of my tips for maintaining a healthy diet and attitude over the Silly season:
- Plan, Prepare, Succeed! This time of year bring events far more frequently than another time meaning that there could be multiple nights out in a row or running from one function to another limiting time for putting things together as you go. Before your week begins, sit down and really look at the week, assess how your usual plans will be affected and plan changes accordingly. For example that might mean taking a loaf of bread, salad vegetables and cold meat to keep in the fridge at work to make lunches instead of making them at home the night before. It may mean keeping your joggers in the car to fit in a quick walk or gym visit at lunch instead of your usual afternoon session. Figure out how to make things as easy as possible for yourself.
- Location is key: If you know you tend to overeat, positioning yourself right next to the cheese plate, or near the kitchen door will encourage you eat whatever is in front of you without thinking. Make an effort to grab plate and move away from the food table. Putting some space between you and the food helps you be more conscious of your intake as you will have to make a conscious decision to go back for seconds.
- Eat before you go. Canapes while delicious are often extremely energy dense and packed with salt, sugar, or saturated fats. Having a quick snack on the way such as an apple, yogurt or a handful of nuts can help fill you up prior to the event so that you are able to think more with your head rather than your stomach.
- Avoid the bread, pastries and entrees. These small items are a lot more energy dense then you may think. They can quickly put you over your calorie budget for the night while contributing to feelings of bloating and overfullness that night or the next day.
- Don’t forget the vegetables. We always encourage people to build their meals using ½ vegetables , ¼ protein and ½ carbohydrates and Christmas is no different. Make use of all the beautiful sides and salads around and half fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables before moving on to the heavier meats and carbohydrate based sides.
- Limit the extras. Fresh Australian produce is some of the best in the world so let its natural beauty sing by limiting additions of sauces, oils and cheese and trimming fats from meats prior to serving.
MOST OF ALL:
- Allow yourself to enjoy the silly season– Many people (looking at you ladies) can get quite hard on themselves at this time of year for indulging at events, but really isn’t that just part of life? Enjoy the champagne, have a gingerbread man or a slice of cake, after all life is meant to be enjoyed. Just make sure that tonights Christmas party doesn’t impact on tomorrow. Enjoy the party and then get back to your prepared plan as soon as possible.