Christmas Survival Strategies

Tis' the season

As the end of the year and Christmas quickly approaches, many of us will be attending a raft of social functions. While these are a wonderful opportunity to kick back and get into the festive spirit, they also come with their own set of pitfalls – food and alcohol!

Here are some simple tips for how to tackle the Festive Season head on. 

  • Start the day with a bit of exercise, like a walk with your family.  This will help to boost your heart rate and have you burning more energy, plus it is a great chance to spend some quality time with the family – away from all the madness.

  • Start your day with breakfast.  When we are hungry, we tend to eat more. Make sure you eat a wholesome breakfast on the day to avoid overeating later on. Good options include poached eggs on wholegrain toast or overnight oats topped with your favourite summer fruit.

  • Compensate during the rest of day by ensuring you choose your food and drink wisely.

  • Watch your portions.  Only fill one plate of food at a buffet and always fill your plate up with vegetables first. Only have small amounts of foods, which are high in saturated fat, salt or sugar.

  • Eat slowly. Take time to really enjoy and savour the food you are eating. By taking your time you are less likely to overeat. 

  • Stand away from the food table if you are likely to pick. You will find you eat less if you have to walk over to it.

  • Have healthy alternatives available. Luckily, Christmas is in the height of summer where salads become a staple on many kiwi tables and fresh berries and stone fruit are readily available - Christmas should be no different. If you are going to someone else's place for your Christmas feast, offer to bring some healthy alternatives. Examples include salads, vege sticks and a low fat dip, fresh fruit kebabs or a fruit salad.

  • Be mindful of alcohol. While Tis the Season to be jolly, alcohol is high in energy (29kJ/g) and is alcomparable to drinking a glass of liquid fat (37kJ/g) – not a nice ‘mental picture’! Alcohol is also filled with ‘empty kilojoules’. This means it provides no useful nutrients for your body. Try sipping your dinks slowly, alternating one alcoholic drink with a glass of water and using diet or low sugar mixers. 

  • Watch out for chocolates, pies, cakes and chips – these are high usually in energy, sugar, salt and saturated fat. Only have a small amount, if at all.

  • Trim the visible fat off your ham and take the skin off the turkey or chicken. This is where the saturated fat hides.

  • And finally, remember Christmas is ONLY ONE day.  Try not to stress too much. Enjoy the day and all it has to offer.