“Our brains compartmentalise each event of ‘unhealthy’ eating and we struggle to see the big patterns of eating which are undermining our progress,” writes dietitian CLARE WOLSKI
HERE are some super simple tricks to stay on track for anyone looking to get through Christmas with minimal weight changes.
Bring a salad – Offer to bring a salad with all your favourite veggies to your next barbecue or a family gathering. That way you know you have the option to load up half your plate with vegetables and prevent yourself overdoing the calories. Contrary to popular belief, you can win friends with salad!
Make a fruit-based dessert – While the puddings, trifles and pies are the traditional Christmas fare, opting for a fruity dessert is an easy way to reduce the calorie density of the Christmas season.
- Chop some strawberries and watermelon into small pieces and sprinkle with fresh mint!
- Dice up some kiwi fruit, layer it with passionfruit and yoghurt.
Make a spritz – Alcohol is easily one of the biggest contributors to weight gain over Christmas. An easy switch is to pour half the glass with soda water or sparkling mineral water before topping it up with wine or bubbly. It’s a slightly different taste but once you have the drink in hand, your brain will hardly notice.
Hide some veg from yourself – If you’re lining up to fill your plate at a Christmas feast, start with the non-starchy vegetables. Grab some of the beans, asparagus, pumpkin and salad and get your plate at least half full first. Then put the meats and starchy veg on. You can even go one better and put a bit of veg on every forkful before you pick up the meat.
Take a deep breath – When there is a lot of different foods on offer, it’s so easy to get a bit FOMO (fearful of missing out), and over-eat. We are picking out the next delicious thing before we have finished the mouthful of the one before. A simple strategy to manage over-eating is taking one to two deep breaths after every mouthful. It’s a small action but it can have a really big impact on how much we end up eating
Repurpose chocolates – Many of us are inundated with chocolates and sweets over the Christmas period. Unfortunately, the strategy of “eating it now so it won’t be there to tempt you later” doesn’t work! Try melting some of them down and drizzling them over fresh fruit. Or make your own healthier rocky roads (healthyeatinghub.com.au/healthier-rocky-road/), which could make for a great re-gift!
Plan an activity – Catching up at Christmas doesn’t have to be all about food and drink. If you want to spend time with your friends, family or co-workers, plan to do something active. A rock-climbing afternoon, a game of cricket or badminton, a walk around Lake Burely Griffin. Even a ping-pong tournament could be a great way to catch up away from the smorgasbord (beer pong doesn’t count).
Clare Wolski is a practising dietitian at The Healthy Eating Hub, call 6174 4663.