Family get-together and eating has lots of benefits when it is done mindfully. The one festive season meal you should approach cautiously is the big feasts during occasions such as Christmas, and New Year.
How to Stay Healthy During the Festive Season
Plenty of people experience weight gain at these holiday parties during festive seasons because (generous hosts aside), they get carried away by the good cheer and are not aware of what and how much holiday food they are eating. When we consume a big amount of food but don’t use the excess calories up through physical activities, we inevitably end up with unnecessary weight gain over a period of time.
Avoid going for visits on an empty stomach
Start the day with a healthy and balanced breakfast that includes wholegrain foods, low-fat protein and fruit. “Avoid going for visits on an empty stomach to prevent overeating or over-indulging on festive treats,”.
Eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you feel full
It takes a while for your body to register that your stomach is filled to capacity so if you eat until you feel really full, you would have over-eaten.
Be canny about what you eat
Another secret is to be canny about what you eat. Choose foods that are high in fibre because these will keep you fuller for longer.
Also, before you start on the main course, ‘cheat’ by eating a healthy dish that has lots of low-energy dense-foods such as salads or vegetable soups. These will fill you up before you hit the mince pie, roast turkey or the beef rendang.
Drink water instead of drinking calories
One easy trick to limit your calorie intake is to follow a simple rule: Don’t drink your calories. Drinking 330 ml of water fills you up as much as a 330 ml can of a soft drink — minus the calories. So instead a bottle of juice, a soda or an alcoholic drink, opt for a few glasses of water instead.
Maybe for an informal gathering such as a barbeque. “Consider bringing your own water bottle filled with water and slices of lemon and cucumber,”. “It is a refreshing alternative to plain water and can quench your thirst.”
Say ‘later’ when you have trouble saying ‘no’
Often, when you are visiting, the host constantly ladles food onto your plate, insisting that you eat more. If you feel you can’t say ‘no’, try saying ‘later’ instead. This way, you don’t seem impolite and hopefully, your host won’t remember to press you to eat more.
Finally, eat slowly and focus on the socialising rather than eating. Eating slowly allows your body time to register that you have had enough so you don’t overeat.
Offer healthy dishes for healthy eating
If you are the host, make things easier on your guests by offering healthier dishes. Start by serving plenty of vegetables so that people fill up on these. Offer high-fibre carbohydrates like brown rice, brown rice bee hoon and wholegrain bread. White rice is a hard habit to break but you can make the transition easier by mixing brown and white rice together, she further suggests.
Typically, seafood and meat make up the main course at dinner parties. Where possible, serve more fish, especially oily fish such as salmon and mackerel that are high in omega 3-fatty acids and are good for the heart.
When you serve meat, offer lean meats rather than fatty cuts. Remove the skin from poultry before cooking, for example. Avoid deep-frying and instead stir-fry, steam, grill, and boil your food.
Communal eating is about celebrating life, and nothing celebrates life more than delicious food that promotes health. So stay healthy and stay fit by eating wisely and finding the time to stay physically active during the holidays, and make it a healthy holiday instead of one that causes too much damage to your health and waistline.