Avoid the Christmas blowout and stay healthy by following these simple tips. From ensuring your meals are balanced to incorporating the season’s best produce, these ideas will ensure you can enjoy the decadence of a classic Christmas without adding to your waistline.
Celebrate the seasonal flavours
Unlike our northern hemisphere friends, an Australia Christmas falls in the midst of our summer, when a smorgasbord of fresh seasonal produce is available to all. Instead of turning to mince pies, chocolates and fudge – which all need to be refrigerated in our searing heat – opt for fruit skewers, frozen mango bars and icy poles as the treats you turn to.
Pick your indulgences
There’s no end of indulgences during the silly season, from decadent cocktail parties to a fridge full of homemade sweets, and no one should have to go without. However, instead of indulging in everything choose what you most enjoy and give the rest a miss. If baking is something you love, try to prevent over catering, or opt to give away most of what you make to ensure that you aren’t over-indulging throughout the holiday season.
Get a good breakfast
The surest way to fill up on sugary snacks midmorning, or overindulge at that office potluck lunch, is to skip breakfast. Instead, make sure you make your first meal of the day your most nutritionally balanced. Opt for sugar-free muesli, Greek yoghurt, smoothies or eggs to get your day off to the best start.
Swap your favourite dishes
Some of our favourite Christmas dishes aren’t the healthiest choices, so why not try swapping them for healthier incarnations with some of these recipes. Choose chilli prawns over a classic prawn cocktail, go for a zingy pesto rather than a cheese dip, or make bliss balls instead of the usual truffles. Not only do these dishes feel indulgent, they are absolutely delicious as well.
Choose a lighter salad
Christmas is full of picnics and barbecues, where calorie-packed pasta salads, creamy potato salads and cheesy dips abound. If you’re attending somewhere that requires bringing a salad, make sure you choose one that isn’t as heavy in the cloying dressings, favouring vinaigrette-based potato salads, nutrient-rich bean salads and green veggie-packed garden salads instead.
Don’t skip meals
With all the snacking and treats, it’s easy to fill up on calorie-filled treats and go without the more nutritious meals you’d usually enjoy. Not surprisingly, this is a recipe for disaster. To avoid a sugar crash, and lesson the temptation to fill up on treats, make sure you’re eating properly throughout the day.
With the temperature rising, and an abundance of sugary treats on offer, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, and to reach for just another truffle or piece of shortbread. Instead, keep a jug with sliced lemon, lime and mint sprigs on the bench, or your desk, and keep it topped up with water. This will encourage you to top up your glass throughout the day, and ensures you’re staying well hydrated.
Out of sight, out of mind
Instead of displaying your Christmas cooking where it’s easy to grab, try putting it away in the pantry, or fridge, so that you’re not continually tempted. Even better, when choosing what to make this Christmas, opt for a treat that can be added to the freezer. These sweets have a longer shelf-life and are tucked away from view, allowing you to forgo temptation every time you’re in the kitchen.