Six tips for healthy holiday eating
Author: Nicole Saliba, Accredited Practising Dietitian Date Posted:4 December 2019
Christmas is often a time filled with family, friends, social gatherings and celebrations which are all centred around food. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to deprive yourself in order to be healthy. That’s why we have compiled our top six tips for staying healthy over the holiday period because we believe it is possible to allow yourself to have a few indulgences without going overboard.
1/ Don’t stress yourself out or ‘throw in the towel’
Going into the silly season with the following attitudes will quickly derail you
- Stuff it, I’ll start the diet in January
- I’m going to be really naughty
- I’ve ruined my diet so I may as well keep going
Having the occasional indulgence over Christmas is not going to undo all your hard work and feeling guilty or stressed about what you’re eating usually only leads to overeating, not eating less. There is more to Christmas and life than calories, and food is there to be enjoyed with the ones we love! Drop the guilt, enjoy what you’re eating and treasure the memories you make with friends and family. Stay off the scales too for the sake of your mental health as its normal for our weight to fluctuate over the day by 1-3kg from food and fluids.
2/ Rethink your drink
For some, the silly season is synonymous with drinking from December through to mid January, however, it is important to remind yourself that it is possible to have fun without alcohol. If you choose to drink, have a clear idea of how much you will be drinking before you get to an event. Ensure you are getting a minimum of two to three alcohol free days per week over the christmas break and rethink your choice of drink. Ciders, wine, champagne, juices, soft drinks, cordials and energy drinks all contain empty calories that can easily add to your waistline. Alternating one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink such as water can also help!
3/ Perfect your plate portions
Aim to fill half your plate with salad or non-starchy vegetables (everything aside from potato and sweet potato). Fill one quarter with protein such as fish, prawns, seafood, chicken, meat, eggs, chickpeas/beans/lentils or tofu. Fill the remaining quarter with smart carbohydrates such as sweet potato, brown rice, pasta, rice noodles, sourdough or seeded bread etc. Once you have finished filling your plate move away from the table to stop yourself from mindless grazing.
4/ Be prepared
Socialising with friends and family does not always have to centre around takeaway food and booze. If you are you in charge of picking the restaurant or cafe choose one that has healthier options such as sushi, all day breakfasts including poached eggs, sauteed veggies and sourdough, japanese or vietnamese salads or stir-fries or seafood restaurants with fresh seafood or grilled fish and salad. If you are going to a party bring a plate of food along such as a fresh fruit platter, roasted vegetables, home-made salad or grazing board with nuts, vegetable based dips, fresh fruit, olives and smoked salmon.
5/ Don’t arrive hungry
A lot of people believe that forgoing a meal or snack ahead of an event will help them manage their calorie intake for the day, however, the opposite seems to be true. Before arriving at a party or event have a meal or snack to ensure you do not arrive famished. Having a meal or snack which includes protein such as a breakfast of poached eggs on sourdough toast or a snack of greek yoghurt and berries will stop you from going HAM on the cheese platter.
6/ Prioritise your sleep and exercise
Make it a priority to get 7hrs+ sleep as a lack of sleep can alter the hormones which regulate how hungry or full we are. Try your best to move your body every day whether it's a walk, swimming or bike ride! If you’re on holidays somewhere, going for a walk, jog or bike ride is a great way to become familiar with a new area. Doing some exercise after a big meal can also help bring down your blood sugar levels.