It’s only one week until Christmas, and here at the Hub we have been discussing what healthy eating over the festive season actually means. Like most things in nutrition it’s different for everyone. So, we thought that we would share each of the team’s best Christmas tips to stay healthy and on track this year!
Kate Freeman – Registered Nutritionist
Bring a salad or vegetables to ‘pot luck dinners’
Try to fill half your plate with raw or cooked vegetables for as many meals as you can. If you’re the one bringing the good stuff you’ll always have something green (or red, yellow & orange) to put on your plate!
Choose plain mineral water over soft-drink or diet soft-drink
There is going to be enough sugar, fat and energy in the food at Christmas time. Enjoy the bubbles and fix without the excess energy.
Aim for weight maintenance
It may be unrealistic to try to lose weight over Christmas. If you’re still on your weight loss journey, how about aiming for weight maintenance during the festive season. It’s good practice for how you’re going to eat long term after you’ve lost your weight. Resume your weight loss routine in the new year.
Make fruit based desserts
In Australia, our access to summer fruits means that we have delicious, sweet treats, bursting with nutrition to fill our bellies after a meal. Think mango, fresh berries, stone fruit, melons and more!
Gather the family and walk up a mountain, run around at a playground, swim in the river or beach and just move as much as you can! Keep it fun!
Clare Wolski – Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Moderating the Christmas cheer
It has taken me several rough mornings over the festive season to realise that not every Christmas event needs to be a drinking event. This year I am going to:
- Prioritise which 2-3 Christmas events I will drink alcohol and and which ones I’ll drive and not drink
- Alternate my alcoholic beverage with a flavoured mineral water
Lower the calories of your meal in one fowl swoop
At every Christmas meal load ½ your plate up with salad or vegetables. You’re filling up on the vitamins and minerals while avoiding extra kJs.
Share the love
Re-gift or save some of the Christmas chocolates and lollies to share later in the year. The strategy of ‘eating it now so it won’t be there to tempt you later’ does not work!
Taste every mouthful because the foods we get at Christmas are special – fruit mince pies, plum pudding, brandy custard, fresh leg ham, chocolate rum balls, and of course cherries. Put your knife and fork, or the food, down between each bite and enjoy!
Make some memories
Get out some sporting equipment and get outdoors for your family get togethers. Backyard cricket, Bochi, coits, badminton, hide and seek, water fights – it’s actually really fun playing these as an adult; they are things you will look back on as why you like Christmas.
Carmen D’Costa – Accredited Practicing Dietician
Over Christmas I like taking the dog for longer and more frequent walks while not at work. If I’m near the coast I go for long walks at the beach with friends and family. If you’re at the beach, get out and be active – surf (or have lessons!), body board, swim and get some vitamin D!
If I’m away on holidays I look for a pole dance fitness studio wherever I’m travelling to get a good workout and keep up my fitness.
Make healthy desserts as an option for Christmas events
- Fruit salad with lots of berries, mango and stone fruit
- Berry tarts
- Rainbow fruit skewers
Rebecca Mete – Accredited Practicing Dietician
Christmas is a time for family, fun, beach cricket and most importantly delicious home cooked food! But as Christmas approaches every year, so do the questions of ‘how do I eat healthy over Christmas?’. So here are my top tips to eating healthy over the festive season:
Go for quality not quantity
There is no shock that during the festive season we all eat, eat, and eat more. All justified because it’s Christmas. So, unfortunately it doesn’t take long for those extra kilojoules to start to add up. So my tip, go for quality not quantity. Instead of having four ginger bread men, have one and enjoy it. Instead of quickly drinking six glasses of wine, have two and enjoy it. Instead of eating half a pavlova, half that slice again, and enjoy it. It’s all about eating your favourite foods over the festive season in moderation!
Knowing what Christmas parties, family events and other celebratory events you have ahead of time will help you decide how much to eat and when. For example, if I know that I have been invited to a big family dinner, I will have a lighter lunch that day. This tip will help you not over eat, but feel satisfied instead.
Experience Christmas meals
How often do we eat a meal and not enjoy or appreciate the people we are sharing a meal with, or the food itself? This year, be present during family meals, appreciate those around you, laugh, talk and be merry! Take your time eating, enjoy the flavours of food and enjoy your Christmas meal experience.
Whether it is long walk on the beach (thanks to day light saving), or a game of beach cricket with friends, try to stay as active as possible. Not only will this help compensate for all the delicious food eaten, but it will also help you feel healthy and balanced over the festive season.
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