Eat, drink and be... healthy
If you only read one thing, make it this:
“If you have a weekend or big night out, balance it out with a couple of days at home eating healthily.”
At this time of year, social invitations are flowing thick and fast… and your healthy eating habits are probably going right out the window. On average, Aussies gain 0.8kg to 1.5kg over the Christmas period – and unfortunately, this weight is rarely lost.
“In the silly season there are a lot more occasions where we’re eating out of the home, and there might be alcohol involved,” says accredited practising dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan. “Party food tends to be deep-fried fatty foods rather than salads or veggie soup because canapes are easy to eat.”
Sensible eating in the silly season
Being a nutrition rock star might not be realistic at this time of year, but you can certainly minimise the silly season’s damage to your waistline.
“If you’re going to a friend or relative’s house, bring something healthy with you, such as vegetable sticks with hummus and homemade guacamole,” McMillan says. “And you can get some good chips now made from beans and lentils.”
Here are McMillan’s top tips to help when it comes to healthy holiday eating.
- Instead of pies, sausage rolls, chips, cakes and lollies, prioritise healthy choices. “Oysters are very often a good option,” McMillan says. “So are prawns, but watch the dip. Go for vegetables and Asian-style dishes such as sushi and fresh spring rolls.”
- It’s all about balance. “If you have a big weekend or big night, balance it out with a couple of days at home eating healthily.”
- Eat prior. “If it’s a catered party, don’t be ravenously hungry when you go. Eat a salad with protein or beans beforehand.”
- Don’t stand next to the food table. If you’re prone to reaching for food while you talk, try chewing gum or eating a mint to keep yourself reaching for the chips.
- After your first helping, take a 10-minute break. You might find your stomach’s ‘I’m full’ signal has reached your brain by then.
Beware of the booze
Alcoholic drinks can have a big impact on your waistline.
“Be careful with cocktails – that’s a high-kilojoule drink,” McMillan warns. “It’s often better to have a glass of wine. Alternate it with sparkling water to slow yourself down and keep hydrated.”
Need more tips for managing your alcohol intake? Here’s how:
- Watch your serving size – restaurants often serve wine in glasses three times the standard serve.
- Don’t let anyone top up your drink. Finish the whole glass, then reach for water.
- Try diluting your drinks. If you’re drinking wine, try making a spritzer (half wine, half soda).
Your waistline (and your head) will thank you for it.