Enjoying a healthier festive feast!

2013December14_DietNutrition_BEat, drink, and be merry! This might be your motto for the festive season but there’s no reason why hardworking Kaia girls cannot enjoy a healthier festive feast that is just as sumptuous. If you don’t want to spend the first quarter of 2014 battling the holiday bulge, then you might want to consider a less indulgent December and New Year. However, if you do pack on a few pounds then you know we are your fitness sisters ready to work together to get you back in Kaia F.I.T. shape. And remember, It doesn’t have to be a case of doing without or feeling deprived this season but just adding some common nutritional sense ingredients into the mix.

The stores are full to brimming with festive treats and gourmet goodies. You have family dinners, perhaps a party or get-together here and there, not to mention special days where food is at the center of celebrations. With the best will in the world it can be an uphill struggle to resist tasty temptations at this time of year, and the fact that it is a busy time for most people only adds to the challenge. Unless you are going to go to an extreme and only serve up a salad or fresh vegetables during the festivities, then follow a few simple tips to enjoy a healthier festive feast.

  1. Don’t shop when you are hungry: If you’re starving when you load up your shopping cart it can be impossible to make rational decisions on what food to stock up on. You’re more likely to buy what you’re craving and if you’re famished then you’re going to no doubt be salivating over more than a lettuce leaf. Don’t let hunger pangs rule you festive shop.

  2. Make a list: If you write out a meal plan for holidays then even if you veer off a little, you will still have a rough idea of what you can prepare. This really helps with shopping for the right ingredients and also planning to add the right balance of nutritious foods to the menu. This is a great way to stick to a budget and think of low cost, low calorie foods that are delicious too. In between big festive dinners you might appreciate some fairly plain and simple meals as well.

  3. Serve low fat meat or vegetarian main: For your festive feast, rule out fattening meats like duck and ham and serve up turkey, chicken or what about a non-meat dish for a change if you’re not already a vegetarian? Cut down on calories and saturated fats with turkey served without the skin, so that you can enjoy a meal rich in protein and low in fat.

  4. Don’t get stuffed on sausagemeat stuffing: There are some wonderful vegetarian stuffing recipes to be found in cookery books and online, which offer a more appetizing alternative to sausagemeat. Meat stuffing is one fatty ingredient that you could really do without. Use sage, onion, mushrooms and chestnuts to create a textured stuffing instead.

  5. Cook mash without lashings of butter: Going without some mashed potatoes may be an ask too far this season, although you could use sweet potatoes instead which are far lower in fat, or mix these in with your regular potatoes. Adding full-fat milk, cream and butter into mashed potatoes may turn this side into a luxury dish but also a less healthy one. Add in a small amount of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and what about a drizzle of olive oil or perhaps some low fat natural yoghurt instead?

  6. Have healthy snacks at the ready: While you might not have the time or inclination to rustle up lots of healthy snacks, you can easily stock up on unsalted nuts, figs, satsumas and dried fruits, so that you have lots of little bowls and plates to choose from.

  7. Stop sprinkling the salt: Don’t get carried away with the salt during cooking. People always add seasoning when they eat anyway, so be mindful of creating courses which aren’t made up of one salty dish after another. If a meal has to be salted then let diners know so they don’t just mindlessly add seasoning, or take away the condiments instead.

  8. Ration goodies: If you live in a house full of people who raid the refrigerator and cupboards then you might need to be a little sneaky and hide some of the more alluring treats. If you don’t have the space to do this then put foods for a certain day in a separate compartment and make it clear that these are not to be touched until then.

  9. Smaller is just as tasty: A huge plate usually equals a big portion. Cut down on the size of your dish and you might just eat less too. Since this is the season for many people to scoff down more than they need, a little less is probably needed all round.

A great way to enjoy a healthier festive feast is to offer to cook or host some of the season’s eating events. That way you are in control of what is served and will have a better opportunity to keep an eye on your health. Don’t forget to keep up your fitness routine too!

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