Healthy Eating over the Holiday Period

The holiday season is a fantastic opportunity to spend time catching up with friends and family members. However, with lots of extra social occasions, it can also be a challenging time for those who are working towards goals of weight loss and better health.

End of year celebrations seem to start earlier these days, which means more chances to overeat at social events – and therefore more occasions to get off track.

If you consider that one extra mince pie each day over the holiday period will leave you with an extra 2Kg of body weight over the period of just one month… it’s easy to see how the Christmas cheer can have many negative health consequences when not being careful. Before you disregard your healthy eating and exercise habits, becoming victim to several weeks’ worth of holiday over indulging, here are some tips to help you curb the calories this holiday season:

When entertaining, making some healthy snack swaps can have a drastic impact on the energy saved. Try these simple, healthy food swaps at your next gathering:

Swap this                     For this                                            Energy Saved (minutes of walking)

  • 1 Tbsp Pesto Dip           1 Tbsp Chobani yogurt dip             90 calories (35 minutes)
  • 6x Jatz biscuits              6x Waterthins crackers                   80 calories (32 minutes)
  • 18 Potato chips             1 cup air-popped popcorn              110 calories (45 minutes)
  • 4x Twiggy sticks            10x vegetable sticks                       290 calories (2 hours)
  • 1x Mince pie                  1 cup fruit salad                             261 calories (1 hour 40 minutes)
  • 1 cup fruit juice             1 cup fruit infused water                70 calories (25 minutes)

Additionally, here are some healthy tips to consider!

  • Make up refreshing fruit infused water drinks by chopping up a mix of your favourite fruit, herbs and citrus and adding these to a large jug of iced or sparkling water (see our strawberry, cucumber, lime and mint water and passion-fruit and lychee cooler recipes for ideas).
  • To cut back on fat, remove the skin from roast meats and prepare large baked potatoes as a side dish, instead of creamy potato bakes.
  • Don’t arrive hungry! Have a healthy snack such as fruit, low fat yogurt or a handful of unsalted nuts before you go. Limit the number of starters and snacks you have before the meal is served.
  • When approaching the buffet of food, make sure to fill half your plate with vegetables and salads first! This will leave you feeling full and will help avoid filling up on other energy dense and nutrient poor dishes.
  • Vegetables are your best friend. There are so many ways to increase your vegetable intake. It’s so easy to go straight to the Christmas favourites, but if you fill half your plate with vegetables and salad first, then you are less likely to over eat.
  • Ask yourself a simple question each time you eat: “Am I hungry?” and “Do I really feel like eating this?” This simple questioning is often enough to help you control the types and volumes of food you eat. Only indulge if there is something you really like on offer.
  • Kindly let your close friends and family know you would appreciate them not giving you food as gifts, especially nuts, lollies and chocolate. The ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ rule helps immensely.
  • Shake your booty after dinner to some Christmas tunes to help burn any additional energy consumed in the day.

Most of all, have fun, stay safe and Merry Christmas everyone!

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