We're approaching that time of year where food and drink are part and parcel of the festivities. You don't want to miss out, but at the same time, you don't want to be rolling out of the party either...
Well the good news is, you don't have to - in this instance you can have the pudding and eat it too! As long as you follow these simple rules!
1) Thou Shalt Eat Everything....In Moderation
You want glazed ham - have it! How about stuffed turkey - go for it! Pudding with custard - yes indeed!
Eating in moderation means eating in balance - between the extremes of binge eating and starving yourself. Doing so will avoid excessive consumption and at the same time you won't be feeling deprived. Watch your portion sizes and if you decide you do want that pudding or pavlova, don't go back for second helpings of the main meal. Make sure half of your plate is full of salad and veggies and voila - you can have the cake and eat it too!
2) Thou Shalt Use Leftovers Appropriately
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have leftovers (and trust me, there are always leftovers) put them to their best possible use. Rather than making a creamy carbonara with the leftover ham, shred it and add it to a bright and colourful salad. Leftover turkey? Spread some cranberry sauce, add some thinly shaved radish, cut up some asparagus and wrap in cos lettuce leaves. If somehow you have managed to score a few leftover prawns, chop them up and turn them into a protein omelette! Everything can be turned into a wholesome and nutritious meal, it just needs a little consideration!
3) Thou Shalt Drink Water Between Alcoholic Beverages
This commandment has a double benefit, drinking water between alcoholic beverages will keep you feeling fuller for longer (less chance of binge eating out of starvation) as well as keeping you completely hydrated. It's easy to have a glass champers, a few glasses of sangria with your meal and finish off with a cheeky cocktail or two. Before you know it, you've consumed your sugar intake for the next 3 days and there's more chance you'll eat extra to compensate for the alcohol. Steady your drinks with water in between and your body (and head) will be thanking you for it!
4) Thou Shalt Continue to Exercise Throughout The Holidays
Many people use the excuse that they 'just don't have time to exercise' during a normal working week. And that may very well be the case, however the Christmas period is a time where some of us are generally graced with a couple of days off. Use this time to your advantage! Before going out for that breakfast catch up with friends', or visiting the in-laws for a festive feast - dedicate 30 to 60 minutes to get your heart rate going! You'll feel more energetic, have a positive outlook and you may just stop yourself from overdoing it in the food department!
5) Thou Shalt Add Plenty of Fruit & Vegetables On To Thy Plate
And by fruit, I'm not talking strawberries and peaches on a pav, nor do I mean duck-fat roast potatoes when I'm referring to vegetables. I mean good old fashioned fruit and vegetables. If there is a fruit platter, alongside the other deserts - grab yourself a few pieces and eat them first. Same rule applies for appetisers and main - still enjoy your dip - simply swap the bread and crackers for chopped veggies. Keep your plate colourful with salads and you can't go wrong!
6) Thou Shalt Not Cave In To Peer Pressure
Remember, you don't need to do something just because everyone else is doing it! If you find yourself at a buffet and everyone at your table is going up for their third or fourth helping - don't feel there is a need for you to follow suite. It's OK to say no. Be confident and politely say ‘no thank you’ if you’re offered a less healthy option that you don’t feel comfortable with. Know your limits and stick to them!
7) Thou Shalt Find A Non-Food Focus
This may sound ridiculous but did you know you can schedule Christmas catch-ups that are not revolved around a meal?!?
The beauty of a great Aussie Christmas is that the weather is (usually) warm. Make the most of it by heading down to the beach, relaxing by the pool, enjoying a spot of backyard cricket.
As a society we place so much emphasis on food that sometimes we forget there are other ways to socialise and spend time with loved ones!
8) Thou Shalt Eat Slowly
Eat slowly. Chewing your food thoroughly helps to slow down the eating process and gives our brain the opportunity to keep up with our stomach. Not only does this tell us when we are full, it also optimizes the digestion and absorption of the food we are eating. Simply meaning, we won't overdo it.
9) Thou Shalt Ask Thyself "Does Thy Really Want This?"
Part of the problem on Christmas Day and the lead up to, is
the mindless eating. Don't restrict yourself by not having the food you really want and have been looking forward to. Just avoid the food that you don’t really care for but eat anyway because it's there.
10) Thou Shalt Not Forget To Have Fun
It is the silly season after all and who wants to be surrounded by a negative Nelly? Christmas is a time of reflection, showing gratitude, helping those less fortunate, spending time with loved ones and if you're lucky, enjoying some much-deserved time off.
Have fun, be merry and enjoy the wondrous experience that we are blessed to call life!
No matter what your plans are for the holidays, I hope your days are filled with love and laughter and wonderful memories are created.
Love & Light
xx Sandra Stoitis xx