You’ve made it through the year and you’ve managed to stick to your nutrition plan so far – or maybe not. If it’s the former, then good on you! High five! If you’re in the ‘maybe nots’, all is still not lost. Everyday gives us another opportunity to start fresh, turn over a new leaf and all that. There is still time. So you’re probably dreading (or really looking forward to) the gastronomic assault that Christmas presents. Diets come and diets go, and as a dietitian I have come to realise that the ‘best diet’ is the one that you can stick to.
We all wish for the magic wand that will make our nutrition perfect and melt off the extra kilos that we find ourselves carrying. But alas… it’s still elusive. The thing is, our diet and those extra kilos did not come overnight and are often as a result of habits we developed over time. It stands to reason therefore, that addressing these issues will also have to be done over time. That said, many adults gain at least half a kilo over this season and once it’s on, for many, it’s hard to lose. So, as the most wonderful time of the year approaches there are ways to still maintain our good eating habits and not completely undo all that you have achieved without being anti-social. Similarly, there are ways to create some good habits so there is less to work off and to get you ready for what 2019 will bring.
Here are 10 things that you can put into your survival kit to start immediately:
- Use soda water to wind down over Christmas. No one has to know there’s no alcohol in there. Drop in your lemon or olive like everyone else (wink wink).
- Sip your drink and eat slowly. That way you’ll always have a drink in hand and you don’t have to refill a plate that’s not yet empty.
- Hide your 5 veg – put your veggies in zucchini brownies, sweet potato pie, pumpkin scones – get creative. Google has tons of delicious recipes!
- Healthy BBQs – put the prawns and everything else on the barbie. That’s a good way to remove some of the unhealthy fats and extra energy in what you eat… plus less to clean up.
- Eat before you go to the party – have a high protein snack and / or a lovely salad beforehand so you are less likely to overeat. You’ll still feel full and make better food choices.
- Do you really need the appetizers? – move the bread basket; don’t stand in front of the nuts or the dip; just order the entrée and leave space for dessert!
- Plan ahead – most of these functions are planned in advance so you know what’s coming. You can plan your exercise, your sleep and even what you will eat. Check if the menu is online if you’re meeting at a restaurant.
- Stay hydrated – have a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage, or use sugar free sodas to reduce how much alcohol you have; and try to increase your activity the day after if you can.
- Catch up outside versus inside – meet family and friends at the park or the beach. That way you can walk with your coffee; swim before or after the feast. And again, less to clean up too!
- Dance like no-one’s watching! – this is a fabulous way to increase your activity levels and burn some extra calories. And it is a party after all.
So, after you have done all that, go ahead and enjoy Christmas day – the one day to be a little naughty J. Then get back on the wagon. Christmas is really all about creating wonderful memories and enjoying your time with loved ones. Whatever is going on, remember the reason for the season.