Written by Dietitian Sarah
Sarah talks us through food and the festive season and her tips to help keep somewhat of the balance!
It’s Been a Year
2021, what a year! And now, Christmas and the silly season is well and truly upon us. Christmas work parties, friends frantically rallying around to organise catch ups that you’ve been meaning to do for months, family Christmas’… it is busy!
Navigating the silly season is always a bit of fun, there is so much good food on offer and Christmas really is about coming together and spending time with your nearest and dearest, usually over some good food and drink.
This year, in particular, is going to be difficult as many families who would usually travel or welcome loved ones from all around the world are unable to do so, due to that C-word making travel rather difficult. Now that doesn’t mean we need to bury ourselves and comfort eat our way through Christmas, but I’m all about including traditional/ family foods and if those things are slightly more unhealthy, then so be it.
7 Tips to Help Balance the Festive Food Rush
Here are a few tips and pointers to help get you through this time:
- Don’t beat yourself up because you over-indulged, get up the next day and get back on track.
- You can always try to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks such as water or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime. If you are looking at non-alcoholic drinks watch out for high sugar ingredients such as juice or fizzy drinks.
- If you’re someone who just can’t help yourself with all the delicious nibbles/foods on offer try to arrive at the function/gathering with a full puku. Have a small meal before you go so you won’t be as hungry and then won’t be tempted to overeat.
- In addition to that, if heading out for an evening gathering, make sure you’ve had a good breakfast and lunch throughout the day so you’re not setting yourself up to fail. Make sure you’ve included protein throughout the day as this helps to keep us full.
- If you’ve got some say in the food such as a potluck, organising Christmas day etc., rally up the family to ensure you have some yummy salads so there’s plenty of good, healthy options as well. Salads don’t have to be boring green lettuce salads (although you can totally jazz these up!). Try a BBQ roast salad- doesn’t need to only be root veges; try courgettes, eggplants, spinach, asparagus, capsicum, along with some kumara/ potato/ pumpkin; spinach, radish and avocado… the options are endless.
- Include a fruit platter for dessert so you’ve got some healthier options as well (I’m sure there’ll be some family members/ friends who will thank you for it). One of my go to desserts is to take a dessert platter- load up with fresh seasonal fruit and throw in a few pieces of chocolate, marshmallows (you could also include some bliss balls) and you’ve got a delicious, easy platter.
- If you’re at a family/ friends Christmas gathering, it can end up as an all-day grazing affair. Mix things up and try to get everyone moving. If you’re near a park, take the kids and everyone down for some fresh air and get moving. There’s heaps of games you could play that get you up and about and it’s a break from the drinks and foods. Game of backyard cricket, tag with the kids, walk around the neighbourhood, or if you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas at the beach- head down there for games, swimming or a group walk! The options are endless.
Enjoy the Festive Season
Don’t beat yourself up but enjoy the festivities. Try and keep yourself accountable throughout this time and be sure to book in a workout session online to balance out the treats!
But, above all, enjoy Christmas! It only happens once a year and with the shit show we’ve had this year navigating pandemics, alert levels, closed borders… relax, enjoy the food, and don’t be too hard on yourself.