Serve up a healthy festive season!

dietandnutrition_Dec4_AIt’s already December and while it may seem too early to be starting to talk about festive menus, planning ahead is worth it if you don’t want to be caught up in the last minute flow of stocking up on gourmet goodies which are only going to add on excess end-of-year weight ready for 2015. Before the holiday feeding frenzy begins, you can start by looking at creative ways to serve up a healthy festive season!

Eating unhealthily is not a treat

It is not just about weight-gain over the holidays that is the issue, but also the fact that so many people give themselves full permission to eat unhealthy foods to their heart’s content. Of course, on one level that’s understandable; everyone needs some time off don’t they? Well, yes and no! This really is an indication of your mindset. Being healthy isn’t a punishment and it doesn’t have to be about eating boring, bland foods either. Many of us are indoctrinated with the rather basic idea that unhealthy foods are a treat and healthy foods are a reluctant must-do. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Don’t let the holiday trigger bad habits

Another danger with letting it all go, healthy diet-wise, in the name of festivities, is that it can spark off old habits that you have managed to extract yourself from, such as overeating and snacking. It can also mark the beginnings of new triggers for unhealthy eating habits that last way longer than the party spirit and could see you on an exhausting uphill struggle by New Year.

Don’t deny yourself holiday pleasures

Unless you are incredibly determined and perhaps have an iron will, the fact is that the holiday season is different than the rest of the year too. Your lifestyle is different, the number and style of social occasions changes, and of course there is definitely more temptation when it comes to special dinners and party buffet tables. Allow yourself an indulgence but don’t overindulge. A little bit of what you feel like is healthy.

Embrace the festive spirit

Of course the festive season is about fun, family and get-togethers, as well as letting your hair down, sending and receiving presents and enjoying great food. You do not need to be over-earnest and take all the joy out of the holidays to still eat healthily. Instead, consider that you are aiming for a traditional holiday, where joy is found in simplicity and the true spirit of a time of sharing and giving. Spending time with loved ones is what this time of year is about, not about gorging on unhealthy dishes.

Prepare a wholesome menu

If you are in charge of a big meal or perhaps some finger foods, then why not explore healthy, festive alternatives? You can find lots of recipes and creative ideas that have a holiday theme but are also nutritious. We will be looking at some ideas over this month.

Next week we will look at how to leave the buffet table without feeling full up on all the wrong foods!

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