Let's Eat, drink and be merry (in moderation)!
Christmas is the season to eat and be merry, and enjoying delicious foods is a solid part of the festive charm. But eating and drinking too much can often leave you with more than you bargained for - especially if you have a chronic health condition or are prone to digestive health problems.
We're not advising anyone to unnecessarily restrict their food intake, but if you want to enjoy the next few weeks without overindulging, here are some simple tips to manage your Christmas portion control...
1. Make healthier choices by opting for lean protein-based such as prawns, lean meat skewers and sashimi, amongst the pigs in blankets. Steer clear of deep-fried, battered and pastry-based options like sausage rolls, risotto balls and spring rolls. If you know you're a grazer, fill your plate with raw vegetables so that you can munch away freely, without getting uncomfortably full.
2. Take a healthy dish to a party: This way you know that there is something on the buffet table that you can tuck into if you've recently overdone it on the sausage rolls! With everyone feeling quite conscious of overindulging at this time of year, healthy contributions are guaranteed to be well-received.
3. Stand away from the buffet table: With a drink in hand and conversation flowing, reaching for the crisp bowl can become as subconscious as breathing. At parties, position yourself at least an arm's length from bowls of food, to avoid mindless eating.
4. Maintain a healthy routine: The Christmas festivities shouldn't mean that all your good habits need to go out the window. By maintaining just a few key healthy eating principles such as drinking plenty of water (especially when consuming alcohol), eating a healthy and filling breakfast every day, and ensuring you still hit your 5-a-day, you can maintain some balance to your diet.
5. Go food shopping with a list: The supermarket shelves are brimming with enticing offers on boxes of biscuits and bumper size tubs of chocolates. Unless you make a plan of exactly what you are going to buy, it's almost impossible not to leave with a lot more than what you went in for. Make a list and stick to it, but be realistic and allow yourself a few treats... it is Christmas after all.
6. Veg out on vegetables: In amongst all the chocolates, cheese and other festive delights, there are a lot of vegetables kicking around at Christmas. At each mealtime aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables, and remember the more variety the better, with each colour representing a different nutrient to keep you fighting fit throughout the party season.
7. It's okay to say no: Try not to feel pressured by the "but, it's Christmas" response you are likely to receive when you turn down another drink or mince pie. The Christmas festivities can create a sense of collective responsibility amongst us all to overindulge. Only eat and drink as much as you feel comfortable with, and don't be afraid to politely decline on occasion.
8. Treat yourself, don't stuff yourself: Eat a bit of whatever you fancy, but if your reply to the offer of another sausage roll is, "I'll force one down!" it's probably time to stop. Overeating can make you feel sluggish and lethargic, and play havoc with your digestive system. If you're struggling to choose between all the treats on offer, prioritise the foods that are only available at this time of year.
9. Freeze your leftovers: Don't eat yesterday's food just for the sake of it, or for fear of not wasting it. Instead, freeze leftovers such as meat, Christmas cake and mince pies. You'll be thankful of them a few weeks later! Leftover vegetables, potatoes and turkey can also be made into nourishing soups and frozen for healthy lunches in the New Year.
10. Most importantly, banish the guilt: Avoid using words such as 'guilt,' 'cheat meal' and 'naughty' to describe your Christmas eating habits. There's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy the festivities freely, so banish any negative talk. Instead, make sure you take the time to savour and enjoy indulging.