Your 6 step food guide to stay healthy through the festive season
Celebrations are a constant for many of us, birthdays, anniversaries, new year, end of year and for many of us Christmas. With most celebrations comes food and drink, often in abundance. How lucky we are or maybe unlucky if we constantly overindulge and leave ourselves feeling tired, sluggish and possibly effect our health. No one wants to be the Grinch, we want to enjoy and celebrate, however we want to feel good too. Here are a few tips to enjoy, rather than fall overboard.
1. Put yourself first
Think about what you want to do and what is best for you. If you are the host provide food that you enjoy and will make you feel good. Is that a grazing table with loads of fresh vegetables, good cheese and quality wholegrain breads? Is it bowls of fresh berries with a dollop of thick cream or quality yoghurt? Is it fresh seafood with salad greens?
If you don’t want to drink, don’t. If you want to stop after a few do. Avoid the trap of other people influencing what you do.
It is also ok to say, no thank you.
2. Plan Ahead
What functions have you coming up? If there are a few in a row plan; which will you have an alcoholic beverage or few at and which will you sit on the water, kombucha or soda water? Remember there is no rule about having to drink, the choice is yours.
Too much food to choose from? Ask yourself, which of these foods do I would really enjoy? Take a serving, eat and really enjoy it! Back away from the buffet. See how you go visiting once and choose which foods you most desire, quality over quantity. There is nothing to say you must try everything. You can say no. When grandma insists you try her trifle, pavlova and Christmas cake but you prefer the cheesecake and fresh berries, say thankyou and still choose what you desire (maybe doggie bag the others for another time).
3. Give away leftovers
Rather than a fridge full of leftovers that you feel obliged to eat for days, pack up doggie bags. It reduces food waste and can have you return to your usual routine quickly. Of course if it is leftovers of fresh salad, fruit and vegetables keep a little so you can a night or two off cooking.
4. Focus on Veggies
Vegetables don’t have to be boring, they can be a highlight of a meal, even Brussel sprouts can taste great when pan fried in extra virgin olive oil so include them a great range in your festive fare. Think of how good crispy roast potatoes, pumpkin and carrots taste, along with fresh green beans and sweet peas.
If you are asked to bring a dish choose fresh salads with festive flare. Add fresh nuts, mango and a range of greens in salads. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and avocado, drizzled with nut or olive oils.
Fresh produce deserves to be the hero.
Start the trend of nourishing gift giving. Boxes of fresh cherries, raspberries, mangoes, nuts, cheese, peaches, oils and vinegars. A pot of herbs in place of a box of biscuits or confectionary will be a gift that keeps on giving without expanding the waist line or causing tooth decay.
Enjoy the festive treats. Without guilt you are more likely to find balance. When shortbreads are forbidden, they become irresistible. When you give yourself permission to eat them anytime, you will find they can wait. Ask yourself a few questions first. What do I feel like? By surrounding yourself with nourishing fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seafood, lean meats and delicious wholegrains (think crusty sour dough bread) you may find you reach for these more. You will be able to be out and about and enjoy the festive season if you are feeding your body good fuel.