’Tis the season to spend time with loved ones and this, of course, involves socialising and plenty of food! Before heading out to yet another buffet, keep in mind that you can enjoy the festive season and still eat healthily. Try these tips to stick to your eating plan.
Eat enough beforehand
You should maintain your eating schedule, such as having a breakfast high in protein to sustain you until lunchtime. And before you head out to a gathering, have a light snack such as fruit with peanut butter, a slice of wholegrain toast or a small yoghurt and a glass of water. This will help to prevent overeating.
Tip: Keep a healthy snack in your bag like some nuts or an apple when you’re on the go.
Fill up on fibre
Instead of garlic bread or deep-fried starters, choose fibre-rich, low-energy-dense foods. Soups, salads and grilled veggies are great options for volume eating that will help you to curb your appetite during the main course. Veggie dips and sides like guacamole and salsa can add extra flavour and healthy fats.
Tip: Split starters if you’re in a group so you can try different options.
Prepare a strategy
Keeping in mind how you’re going to build your plate will help you to stick to your eating plan. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fresh or cooked veggies and the other half with proteins and grains. This could look like a plate of salads, chicken, hummus and pretzels. Try using a side plate and a small glass to control your portion size.
Tip: Prepare your own food (to take with you to family gatherings, for example) if you prefer, so you can control your fat, sodium and sugar intake.
Alcoholic beverages are often packed with sugar and kilojoules, and it’s easy to go over the limit when you’re having a good time. Try to stick to the recommended daily limit of two drinks or less per day for men or one drink or less per day for women. Even better, skip the alcohol and have delicious mocktails instead – and remember, the best drink to fill up on is water.
Tip: Don’t drink and drive. Always choose a designated driver if you know you will be drinking. Alternatively, use apps like RYDD, where you can hail a designated driver in. It works similarly to Uber, which is also a good option.
Make room for dessert
If you completely deprive yourself of festive treats, it may become harder to resist them, leading to overindulgence. Choose your favourite treat at restaurants or casual gatherings. You could split it with someone, dish a small serving or order a half portion if possible – many restaurants offer half portions of desserts like brownies and ice cream.
Tip: If you can’t avoid a large serving, save the rest for later!
For more advice related to healthy eating, read these helpful articles:
- Jain, N. (2020). 13 Ways to Eat Healthier During Festive Season. [online] HealthifyMe. Available at: https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/13-ways-to-eat-healthier-during-festive-season/ [Accessed 10 November 2021]
- Bowen, J. (2016). Festive Season Survival Tips for Healthy Eating. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/festive-season-survival-tips-for-healthy-eating-70138 [Accessed 10 November 2021]