Well the festive season has well and truly hit my life. I am currently two thirds of the way through a consecutive brunch situation. How lucky I am to have people in my life that share my enthusiasm for brunch.
And well, with a couple of drinks tonight, I am well on my way to having a very merry Christmas.
With a almost four weeks left of the festive season (yes that’s including the week of Christmas leftovers and new years celebrations), there are Christmas parties, and plenty of catch ups to be had. Work colleagues will start handing out goodies, and our friends are popping over with delicious edible gifts . I’m guilty of that one, I gave out chilli & salted caramel truffles this morning. Soon enough, these occasional treats starts to become an every day thing and we can’t remember the last time we had a ‘normal eating’ day. The numbers on the scales increase and the thought of January visits to the beach make you want to hop on a plane and fly to Europe.
Circa Christmas 2012, I had dropped some kg’s and I’ll be honest, I was feeling edgy going into the Christmas & New Year period. I was doing well and didn’t want to hinder my game. But with some sensibility in place (minus the Christmas morning HIIT session on the treadmill before present opening), I got through it without any gains to cry over and had a very merry Christmas and one of the best new years ever. (FYI. A New Years Eve wedding = great idea). Anyway, with the help of some lovely dietitian friends and bloggers, I have put together some tips to avoid stuffing ourselves like a turkey.
The silly season comes and our ability to recognise our hunger cues go out the window. With so many delicious treats, we want to try everything. It’s only natural.
But in the words of Dr Rick Kausman, it’s okay to eat less of the foods you enjoy the taste of now, because it’s okay to have them again another time. And you know what, because the Christmas period lasts a few weeks more than one day, you probably will.
Take a moment and ask yourself, ‘I can have it if I want it, but do I really want it?’.
Remember, those Christmas m&m’s are really just m&m’s covered in red and green coating. Those lindt reindeers are really just those lindt bunnies you had at Easter. And those spring rolls, well you’ve have probably had them at nearly every canapé containing event this year.
Watch your portions
These festivities are a great opportunity to expand your palate and try new things. To avoid overdoing it, try a little bit of everything, and then if you like something in particular, go back for a little more. If you love your mother’s chocolate ripple cake, but want to try other desserts, have a little bit of each.
Just keep in mind that canapés are very easy to consume. The wonderful team over at the Australian Healthy Food Guide, suggest taking one canapé for every three you’re offered, and holding your glass in one hand and your napkin in the other. I also recommend socialising away from the nibble table, that helps avoid the mindless grazing.
Sharing is caring.
Jenna, my brunch-loving, dietitian friend suggests sharing an indulgent French toast dish with your friend.
That way you can indulge (because well it is the silly season) but not go overboard.
Exercise your right to say no.
In social situations we often feel obliged to accept a drink or a canapé. It seems like the polite thing to do. But we don’t have to. If you want it, go for it. But if you don’t want another cupcake, you don’t have to have another cupcake. A simple ‘no thank you’ is sufficient.
Never go hungry.
I don’t even have to say it, you know how this one pans out. You don’t snack at work because you know you’re going to an event after. You arrive and before you know it you’ve eaten 5 spring rolls, 2 sausage rolls, 1 smoked salmon pikelet and half the hommus is missing.
Keep healthy options in your desk draw, fridge or handbag so you have some nourishing bites to snack on pre-festivies. Fruit, yoghurt or a small portion of unsalted nuts will do the trick.
I think we’re lucky that we live in the Southern Hemisphere. The weather is fabulous that we can get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Make sure you get in your sixty minutes of exercise each day. If your social calendar is filling up, make a walking catch up. I did this with Jenna a while back and we both agreed, reluctantly, it was much healthier than our French toast catchups.
Lighten your lunch or downsize your dinner.
If you know you have had a big lunch, or going to a dinner with delicious canapés and decadent desserts, go light at the other main meal. Make sure it contains some lean protein to keep you satiated, some wholegrain carbohydrates for slow release energy, and a heaps of salad or vegies to help keep you full!
Make a healthy contribution.
My friend, my rock for the past few months & colleague Jess recommends taking a healthy option like a salad or a dip with vegetables sticks to Christmas parties. She likes to take her roast vegetable salad as it always ensures she has a healthy option to put on her plate.
Put your hand up if you have Christmas drinks are popping up left right and centre? Some even had their Christmas party during the spring racing carnival. Maybe a good thing Ocsober happened (is that a thing or did I make it up?). Anyway. Regardless of the season, drinking alcohol excessively does present with health risks. Remember the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends adults should have no more than two standard drinks (link up) per day, and to aim for at least two alcohol free days per week. I think this is exceptionally important to enforce at Christmas time.
Consider your social occasions – don’t just drink for the sake of it. Consider the importance of the occasion. If you feel obliged to be there, just have one. If it’s really important to you, go for it. Enjoy yourself and be merry.
Don’t join in rounds – That way you can drink at your own pace. You might save some dollars too
Say no to refills – Finish your drink first and that way you can keep track of your tally.
For every wine, have a water. The same applies for vodka, beer, champagne, cocktails, eggnog & baileys.
On my community placement, my supervisor was discussing an overweight client and to help her curb her bottle-a-day vodka (and I think there was whiskey involved too), she put it in perspective of bread. So, a 750 ml bottle of vodka= 15 slices of Helga’s traditional white bread. That’s a whole lot of kilojoules.
So maybe if it works for you, ask yourself if the occasion is worth the equivalent of 8 slices of bread. Would you eat 8 slices of bread just because?
Lastly, remember this is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s a chance to catch up with friends, family and just relax. Don’t deprive yourself, just be sensible about your choices. A healthy attitude towards food means you can relax and enjoy yourself this Christmas.