Glazed ham, prawns, gingerbread, chocolates, wine, cheese… If you’ve started drooling at the sound of these festive foods, then you definitely need to read this article. With so much temptation around at this time of year, it’s easy to overeat. With the help of bh’s health and fitness expert, Luke, we’ve got ten healthy holiday tips to help you make it through the season without piling on the pounds.
#1 Snack before the party
Yes, you should eat before the party. If you line your tummy with a healthy, filling snack like yoghurt with nuts and berries or carrot and celery sticks with hummus, you’ll be less likely to overindulge on chips and dip. When you show up to a party starving, you’re probably going overeat, but if you eat beforehand, you have a better chance of restraining yourself.
#2 Pay attention to portions
We all have our favourite foods, but it’s important to dish out proper portions so you don’t end up with half a plate of ham and two green beans. Make sure you always sit down to an even mix of vegetables, meats and sides (even when it’s a meal made up of leftovers).
#3 Beware of bite-sized morsels
They may be small, but that doesn’t mean they don’t count towards your daily intake. Bite-sized foods can actually contain a lot of calories. If you’re at a party where canapés are being served, stick to fresh ones like oysters or grilled chicken skewers. And steer clear of anything deep-fried – delicious as it may be!
#4 Don’t pile up your plate
With heaps of food sitting in front of you, it’s easy to add that extra scoop. But you should try to fill your plate with the same amount of food you would at any ordinary meal. You don’t have to eat everything that second! Leftovers are just as good as the real thing anyway.
#5 Sit far from the food
When you’re stuck having a conversation next to the buffet, it’s second nature to pick up things to eat as the time passes. To avoid this situation, make a small plate of food and move away from temptation. Then, once your plate is empty, you’ll know it’s time to stop eating. (Sorry!)
#6 Make time for exercise
It can be hard to maintain your exercise regime when you’re heading to drinks, parties and dinners every night. But during this time, you should still try to remain active at least three times a week. If you’re usually an evening exerciser, consider switching to mornings or take advantage of your lunch break to go for a walk. Don’t use your social life as an excuse to stop working out. If you’re really strapped for time, try this five minute workout.
#7 Have your cake and eat it too
Denying yourself dessert will only make you crave sugary treats more. So to make sure you don’t end up stealing chocolates from the kids’ stockings at three in the morning, eat your dessert. Start by savouring just a few bites, and if your sweet tooth is quickly satisfied, put the plate down.
#8 Smart swaps
You don’t have to go crazy and swap your pork for some soy alternative, but making small and simple food swaps can really lower your calorie intake. Luke recommends swapping full-cream sour cream for Greek yoghurt, mayo for avocado and salt for spices.
#9 BYO healthy platter
If you’re asked to bring a platter to a party, take the opportunity to make something healthy. That way, you’ll have something to fill up on and stop you from reaching for the camembert.
#10 Drink smart
When enjoying a drink (or three) during the festive season, be wary of concoctions made with fruit juices, soft drinks and other mixers as they contain a heap of hidden calories. For a lower-calorie option, mix a spirit with soda water. As a bonus, it will keep you better hydrated – and stave off a hangover!
Did you tend to overindulge over the Christmas period? What are your top tips for staying healthy during party season?