Healthy Holiday Eating

Healthy Holiday Eating

5 December 2018

It’s the time for celebration! Let’s face it, it’s the season of the expanding waistline and chances of some pretty intense eating and drinking are on the cards, right?

After all, December is a special time of the year and the last thing you want to be is miserable as a result of trying to “be good”. Truth is, a day or two of over-indulgence is not going to cause you to gain a huge amount of weight – it’s when you eat enough to feed Santa, Mrs Claus and all the reindeer for a week or two that your waistline will protest!

On average, it’s estimated that most people consume around 6 000 calories on Christmas day alone! That combined with say an extra 500 calories per day in the run up to Christmas can leave many people with a few extra unwanted kilos by the time New Year’s Day arrives. It’s almost an unspoken rule that when the festivities begin, you are allowed to eat unlimited amounts of food and stop your exercise routine, and consequently start the New Year regretting it.

The good news is that it is possible to enjoy the festive feeling without the bloated guilt that comes with overindulgence. The key is striking the balance between enjoying yourself but not opening the floodgates entirely.

So, here are some strategies to enjoy a little holiday indulgence without sacrificing your health goals:

Have a healthy snack to curb your appetite before going to a party.

Take a healthy dish to the party to ensure there’s something healthy that you can indulge in. Take a platter of healthy protein snacks to nibble on while you wait for main dishes, e.g. low carb crackers and cheese, or biltong.

Don’t waste precious calories on carb-laden, starchy foods. Choose roasted sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. ¾ cup of sweet potatoes brushed with a little olive oil contains only 100 calories. Delicious!

Step away from the munchies, like a bowl of chips or sweets. If they are at arms-length, you are more likely to nibble mindlessly.

Eat the best-for-you offerings first. Fill up on the healthy options to avoid eating too much of the not-so-healthy.

Sit next to someone who is a slow eater – you are more likely to adapt to their eating speed; eat slower and feel fuller for longer.

Use smaller plates. This is a great way to manage portion size. Studies show that whenever we are served larger portions of food, we eat more.

Make wise alcohol swaps. 20% of your daily calories are your liquid intake. Choose vodka with a diet mixer or a glass of wine topped up with sparkling water and plenty of ice. And, don’t be ashamed to add ice to your bubbly. In France it’s called “piscine”. Tres chic!

H2O, H2O, H2O. This might have you using the ladies room more often, but you will also be dispensing calories.

Keep moving. Dance! Jump! Run! Whatever you do, just move! A 30-minute walk can burn off a Gin and Tonic. Cheers!

Keep the healthy mindset. You want to get to the point where you miss it if you haven’t eaten your snack, where you look for water when you’re thirsty, where you miss exercise if you skipped two or more sessions.

Beat the bulge this season by doing everything that you can to stay active and healthy without depriving yourself of the fun. Remember it’s all about moderation.

Happy holidays!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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