8 ways to enjoy the festive season without feeling guilty

Oddly, Christmas dinner is probably one of the healthiest meals we eat all year – mainly because it’s made from scratch, contains highly nutritious ingredients and the plate is piled high with veggies. But what about the rest of the holiday? Opposite is Karen Geary’s guide to navigating the best of the festive season without feeling guilty.

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TO EAT / DO

At mealtimes

Always ensure there is a good quality protein source (animal or plant-based) on your plate with each meal to keep you fuller for longer and help control your appetite. Make veggies the star of the dish – ideally half the plate.

The buffet.

Go for the ‘real foods’ – meat, cheese, crudités fruits, nuts. If you are asking people to bring something, make suggestions, so you don’t end up with five Christmas cakes.

Snacking

If you stick to three meals a day, no snacks – this is the absolute best way to survive the festive season. ‘Rest and digest’ is really important for your gut health, for balancing blood sugar and maintaining weight. If you do snack, go for the plain nuts and satsumas.

How hungry are you?

Chew slowly. The pace at which you chew your food can make a massive impact on how much you consume. It’s also a good way to appreciate how much time, effort and love has gone into the preparation.

At the bar

White spirits are the low sugar choice – vodka and soda or a gin martini, followed by unsweetened dark spirits, then wine (red is lowest in sugar), beer (stout is lowest in sugar) and then cider (dry is lowest in sugar).

Drink Up

Drink water! It plays a part in regulating your appetite, so make sure you drink plenty during the day.

No diet talk

Lead from the front in setting boundaries when people start talking about diets and other people’s food plates. Saying “I’m not looking for feedback on my plate” whilst taking a big bite of your roast potato with direct eye contact normally does the trick.

Starting the day

Try and grab a few minutes for yourself without the noises and distraction. A coffee in silence or even meditation or a few minutes of deep breathing. Make sure you get some ‘me time’.

BE AWARE

At mealtimes

Limit the starchy carbs. A couple of roast potatoes is probably fine – think half a cup of carbs so you don’t end up in a food coma.

The buffet

Pastry and refined carbs in moderation. Especially the stuff that has been bought in packets. Don’t deny the host your appreciation of their home made sausage roll though!

Snacking

Those chocolates in those big tins are hard to avoid once you start… just sayin’…

How hungry are you?

Check in with your hunger before you eat. How do you want to feel at the end of your meal? Satisfied or stuffed?

At the bar

Mind how you go with the cocktails, even the alcohol free ones – especially those with lots of syrupy add-ins. I’m talking about you, espresso martini. If you are the chef, don’t have a drink until you have served up – that way you don’t get frazzled.

Drink Up

Make sure you drink your planned water intake for the day by putting it in a jug or bottle and note the times you should be refilling.

No diet talk

Don’t talk about dieting or weight – especially in front of the kids. And don’t comment on their food choices either.

tarting the day

Stay off social media and don’t watch the news. You know you are not missing anything. We are what we consume.

by Karen Geary, a Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, mBANT, CNHC at Amplify

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