Holidays and food go hand in hand, and the need to loosen our belts after a festive meal is very relatable! For the lucky few, after returning to usual food routines the extra kilos quickly disappear. However, for most of us, once the holiday is over and the food has gone, those stubborn extra kilos refuse to budge. Sigh.
Considering the foods we enjoy during Christmas - think luscious roasts, chocolates and Christmas pudding - moderation is especially important. If you’ve feasted over holiday seasons past, and don’t ‘bounce back’ the way you used to, we have prepared five rules to help you enjoy your holiday meals more sensibly.
1. Avoid going hungry to parties
No matter how strict your game plan is heading into a Christmas lunch lunch, if you’re starving, all rules go out the window. Aim to arrive at your event as a 7/10 hunger, so that you can eat more mindfully, and make smarter food and portion choices. We suggest having a small snack, such as a handful of nuts, a boiled egg, a piece of fruit or a mug of vegetable soup within 1-2 hours prior.
2. Monitor your food intake using a plate
It’s impossible to keep track of how much food you’re eating, if you pick up a bit here, and a bit there. Serve yourself a full plate from the outset, so you can see with your eyes how much food you plan to eat. Commit to just that plate, and try to avoid having seconds, or thirds!
3. Make sure there are healthy options available
If you are involved in the catering, you may have a say in the number of healthy dishes available, including vegetable and salads. If you are concerned that there may not be enough options, why not put your hand up to prepare some?
4. Plan your treat portions
That trifle won’t eat itself! If you love Chrissy desserts (who doesn’t?!), make sure you leave some room, by having a smaller main meal. Not too small, or you’ll need to fill up on cake! Plan the type and quantity of dessert you would like to have, and once you have completed that portion, reach for a cup of tea instead.
5. Go easy on the booze
Believe it or not, alcohol may be the biggest contributor of calories to your Christmas meal. In fact, 1 standard glass of wine can contain the same amount of calories as a quarter of a Christmas pud. Multiply that by four, and you’ve drunk your way through a whole pudding! Keep this in mind and make a choice - perhaps you would prefer to indulge in a second glass of wine and skip dessert? The Australian Dietary guidelines recommends a maximum of 1-2 standard drinks per sitting.