The holiday season is upon us and with it comes decadent desserts, scrumptious snacks and fabulous feasts. With your social scene heating up, office parties to attend, as well as family gatherings and the New Year blow out, there’s ample temptation to overeat or at least eat too much of the wrong things. It’s estimated that on Christmas Day many people consume around 7,000 calories on that one day alone. So what’s the secret to how not to overindulge this holiday?
There’s lots of advice out there about healthy alternatives to some of the more calorie-rich classic dishes we all know and love. While this can really help those on a diet or with special dietary requirements, the fact is that the holidays are a time that many people enjoy indulging in their favorite foods. So, if you’re not going to swap your Christmas pudding for a fruit salad then here’s a few ways in which you can make sure you don’t roll unhealthily into 2013.
The curse of the Christmas buffet – What is it about finger food that means one small plate soon becomes a conveyor belt of dishes? Before you know it you’ve eaten more than you ever would during a sit-down meal. It might sound simple but a good step to take is a step away! Grazing means you’ll constantly top up your plate so try and stick to an appetizer, main and dessert format and just have one plate for each course. Don’t pile up your plate but take the opportunity to enjoy small bites you wouldn’t ordinarily have at home. Now leave the buffet table and go socialize!
Liquid lunch – Even if you’re not packing on the pounds with hearty seasonal meals it’s easy to sip away a good amount of carbohydrates and calories with party drinks. The festive cheer overflows with rich liqueurs and fortified wines. While watching what you put on your plate, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the number of drinks you’re quaffing too. Having a glass of water to sip on at hand or alternating between an alcoholic drink and water can reduce the amount you drink. Often it’s the party mood as well as social anxiety that has people imbibing more than usual.
A little bit of what you fancy – Make a mental note that you’ll try just a small amount of rich foods that you want but that you will not keep repeating the same pattern. You might end up going to a few Christmas dinners but do you need to have the same dishes at each one? Once you’ve tried a snack or treat cross it off your list in your head and don’t revisit it, otherwise one box of chocolates could lead to many.
Enjoy and savor what you’re eating – When you’re faced with too much food then treats lose value. If you were presented with one wonderfully rich chocolate wrapped in foil then you might decide it was the most delicious, prized treat. Really enjoy what you’re eating and don’t just scoff it down. Be aware of what you’re eating when you’re eating it. Mindless eating is the sure way of overeating without realizing it or truly appreciating what you’ve eaten either.
Celebrate with healthy snacks too – You might not want to forgo a rich treat but there’s nothing wrong with adding a touch of healthy balance into the seasonal menu. Breakfast is a perfect time to grill rather than fry, drink freshly squeezed juices and bring some fibre into the diet too, so that you’re not hungry an hour later and tempted by less virtuous foods. Nuts, carrot sticks and celery will get eaten by grazers just the same as chocolates or sweet treats will.
What’s your advice for keeping the calories and fat in check over the holidays? Share your ideas with us!