It’s that season of the year when we look forward to breaking away from work to spend time with our families and friends. The time to relax and enjoy ourselves is important for our wellbeing but, unfortunately, it is also during this period that we tend to throw our clean healthy eating habits to the curb and overindulge in unhealthy food.
Endless options of food for the whole family can make it easy to overeat and you might fall off your healthy eating bandwagon. When January hits we are all left regretting the unhealthy decisions we made during the festive season.
However, it is possible to strike a balance between allowing yourself the odd treat here and there and overindulging in everything that is being served.
Mbali Mapholi, registered dietitian, gives tips on how to try and stay healthy during the festive season:
- Make sure you eat breakfast: Skipping breakfast can make you eat more poorly through the day. Try to eat a breakfast comprising protein and fibre that will stabilise your blood sugar and keep you going till mid-morning.
- Maintain your current weight: Be realistic, this is not the best time to lose weight, not when you have all the delicious festive treats at your disposal. Aim at maintaining your current weight – that’s the only mission possible right now!
- Keep exercising: Stick to your exercise routine to keep yourself feeling good. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help offset the increase in eating and calories.
- Never skip meals: Skipping lunch to compensate for a dinner full of calories is not a good idea. Eating regular small meals, in addition to dinner, will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent cravings and you are far less likely to overeat.
- Don’t eat everything on the buffet: Choose your favourite foods in smaller portions and skip those that you don’t like to avoid overeating. Eating everything on the buffet is never a good idea.
- Avoid sugary foods: Limit your intake of sugary foods as they increase sugar content in your body and make you crave more rich and sugary foods.
- Stock up on veggies and fruits: Any meal should include a large portion of vegetables and fruit. Be it cucumber sticks, a mixed salad or fruit kebabs, make them a part of your diet during this season.
- Practice healthy cooking: Try and make your favourite dishes healthier. Use margarine when cooking to ensure you get all the good nutrients and omegas e.g. use margarine to sauté veggies or steam veggies and add in a bit of margarine. However, like everything else that one consumes, fats also need to be used in moderation. These simple changes will make an impact over time.
- Limit your beverage intake: The non-alcoholic beverages that we drink during the day and with meals are often loaded with sugar and calories and tend to make one want to eat more. Limit your intake of these beverages, drink water where you can.
- Keep an eye on the alcohol: Control the amount of alcohol you drink over this season and try not to over-indulge. Alcohol is fattening but most of us tend to forget this fact during the festive season. Try to opt for lower-calorie beers and wines when you can.
Stick to Mbali’s 10 tips this festive season and you’ll be sure to usher in a healthier you in the New Year.