Tips For Healthy Eating During the Holidays

The festive season is a time for family and fun. It’s the perfect time to celebrate traditions, socialise and dine with loved ones. The holidays make it easy to over indulge when drinking and eating. The pool parties, braais and merry atmosphere encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol and there always seems to be koeksisters, tasty treats and delicious food available.

Unfortunately, yummy food in a holiday context usually means unhealthy food. The result of a happy holiday is usually a jolly belly and unwanted weight gain. It doesn’t have to be that way, just think of the New Year resolutions you are going to break and stop the festive weight gain in its tracks.

1. Discipline
Saying no to all those delicious holiday temptations is silly. Food is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday. It is absurd and almost impossible to completely resist having fun and enjoying a meal with your family. So rather than complete denial, the goal should be moderation. Don’t take that second helping of Christmas pudding, it will pay off if you limit yourself to one. Self-control can be difficult but try focus on the positive side of moderate eating such as better health, weight control, improved self-confidence and the like.

2. Exercise
Regular exercise is important for good health. The holidays present a special challenge for exercise because traveling to Durban or having family stay over disrupts normal routines. Don’t let this happen. Exercise is possible wherever you are. If you go to the gym regularly and are staying with your parents for the holidays, do some sit-ups, take a jog around the old neighbourhood, walk to the shops instead of driving, or enjoy a family stroll along the beach. It’s important that you get out and keep moving, plus maintaining exercise could give you a little more leeway to have that second helping of milk tart, if your discipline falters.

3. Healthy Option
Roast beef, turkey and pasta can be prepared in delicious, healthy ways too. Most holiday food will be bad for you but there are still some healthy options. Choose more of these when you have a choice thereby limiting your intake of fatty unhealthy foods. Often it’s the preparation that makes food unhealthy. If it is your turn in the kitchen make something relatively healthy. Grill instead of fry, make salads, use half the amount of cream or substitute it with yoghurt. Not everything has to be sugar free, fat free, gluten free, lactose free, nut free and monosodium glutamate free, it could just be making healthier versions of beloved recipes. There are great recipes that are healthy and tasty.

4. Stop at Full.
This sounds obvious because your body tells you when you are full and you stop eating, right? Of course it does, but you need to listen to your body and not force that last piece of gammon or trifle in, no matter what your mother-in-law says. It’s gluttonous to continue eating after you are satisfied and a sure-fire way to gain weight and damage your health.

5. Eat Fruit and Vegetables.
Yes, vegetables are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a festive meal. Still, healthy nutrition and fitness starts with the vitamins and minerals you get from fruit and vegetables, and the holidays can’t change that. Snacking on a juicy piece of fruit or a tasty vegetable between meals might just be the thing to fill you up and help you resist that last Christmas mince pie. Or perhaps you could make a berry pavlova and enjoy your fruit while eating dessert.

6. Drink Less Alcohol.
Alcohol is fattening and unhealthy. More than that, alcohol is dangerous because it lowers your inhibitions. The more you drink the more likely you are to find yourself running naked through the B&B, or letting your self-control slip and feasting on unhealthy foods. Self-restraint when drinking will help when it comes to limiting your eating. Alcohol also makes you hungrier and increases your calorie intake, which is another reason why you should limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking more water, preparing a refreshing smoothie or enjoying a cold-pressed juice is just a few tasty alternatives to alcohol.

7. Be Yourself.
Often we are encouraged by the words or actions of others. When surrounded by people who indulge excessively, it is easy to get swept along with the crowd and forget self-restraint. Once again, try focusing on the importance and the benefit of healthy eating and don’t let others pressure you into over eating or drinking. Self-restraint is a rare trait, so be prepared to test your resolve.

Healthy holiday eating is possible, a fresh green salad and crunchy veggies are just as tasty as a white sauce broccoli casserole, but you’ll need to remember that life is about balance. Find that balance between not eating holiday treats at all and pigging out at the local food market. Everyone can enjoy delicious food throughout the holiday without going overboard. Just don’t forget about eating healthy nutritious food as well.

The bad eating habits formed during the holidays may be a lot harder to break as you move into the New Year. Don’t promise to start that diet in January to make amends for over indulgence. Instead, try using these tips to ensure that you are on the same healthy eating path at the beginning and end of the holidays.

Source: Hollard Insurance