You might think it strange that eating healthy and eating what you want at Christmas are in the one sentence, but you can do both and feel good too.
Christmas is a time for enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family and sharing a meal or many. The festive season can go on for more than just a few days, so pacing yourself with a little planning and a few tips up your sleeve might have you enjoying everything you want to and feeling healthier to enjoy your holiday time.
1. What do you want to eat and drink?
Sometimes we think we want to eat certain foods just because they are associated with Christmas. For example do you really like candy canes and shop bought minced pies? Make a list of the foods you really want to eat and plan your purchasing around this. A roast duck or lean duck breast for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve feasts would make a delicious and nutritious fare!
Roast vegetables are under rated. Give them some more attention and you will be amazed how much you will enjoy them. Roasted carrots, parsnip, tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato and cauliflower drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.
With drinking, what do you really enjoy? To start with on a hot day would an ice cold water with fresh mint and strawberries be a refreshing way to start and then accompanied by a wine you can sip and enjoy. Have plenty of non alcoholic beverages around can help moderate the alcohol. Soda water, mineral water, kombucha, water with fresh fruit and herbs.
2. Purchasing Festive Fare
Festive food starts appearing in the shops well before Christmas. Unless you are celebrating early leave them there. Part of the enjoyment of life is anticipation. If entertaining before Christmas enjoy the fresh fruits and salads, roast vegetables, seafood and lean meats such as duck.
Nice cheeses, olives, nuts and fresh fruits make tasty after dinner delights in place of desserts that can be just as much enjoyed.
3. Eat Mindfully
When an array of food is on offer, it is easy to think you will miss out if you don’t try some of everything. Make a choice; which of these foods you would most desire, sit down and really savour the flavours and the moment. You will be able to gauge when you have had enough to eat more easily if you are in tune with what you are doing. The feeling of overeating might be ok on a few days but numerous times over a week or two can leave you feeling sluggish. There is something to be said for quality over quantity too.
4. Tasty, feel good gifts
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you were given foods as gifts that you could make delicious meals with.
- Quality herbs and spices (yes it does make a difference)
- Local extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar
- Chutneys, pickles or jams
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Duck – the Luv a Duck packs last in the fridge for months. Try the already marinated ones ready to bake
Enjoy the festive season with permission to eat without guilt. A little planning ahead, tuning in to how you feel and with thought about what you really want to eat and drink.
Simone Austin –Accredited Practising Dietitian