Ah, Christmas! Family, joy, laughter, decorations, over-played carols, gifts and FOOD! It’s nearly here, but that doesn’t mean that all of your health and fitness goals have to go out the window! By making a few changes and keeping things in perspective, you can enjoy the festive season without bringing a few extra kilos into the new year with you.
THE LEAD-UP The weeks before Christmas can be just as challenging as the big day itself, with functions and work break-ups presenting many temptations.
While it is a time to mark the end of a long, hardworking year, December doesn’t have to become a month-long celebration. It’s important to treat these events as you would any other throughout the year, and make the best nutrition choices you can. There’s shouldn’t be too much trouble for the parties where you’re encouraged to ‘bring a plate’. Regardless of whether there’s any other options for you, you’ve got your own food and you know there’s no hidden nasties in there. Make sure you do get some of it though, before the rest of your friends and family swoop! Catered functions are obviously a bit more challenging, but this doesn’t mean that the entire day is ruled out.
Eat as you normally would up until you leave for the function, before making the best choices you can while there (and don’t be afraid to ask what’s in the food or for any other options!). You are also allowed to turn down free alcohol, even if others don’t agree with it! We’ve all had that friend or colleague trying to pressure us into it, but it’s okay to say no: I even gave them an entire rundown on one occasion and they never bothered me about it again! If you’re nutrition is spot on, red wine is okay in moderation, but that doesn’t mean you make friends with the barman! Just sip on one or two glasses of Cab Sav or Merlot throughout the night, and make sure to keep up your water intake.
THE FEAST There’s no denying that Christmas Day is all about sitting down to a big feast with your family, whether it be for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner! And just because we’ve deemed it ‘the silly season’, you don’t need to actually embody the term. As Christmas is a time of sharing, most families do this anyway, but offer to bring a few plates of food. You’ll keep your relatives happy and you’ll also have a few options to choose from. Bring enough so that you don’t have to resort to what the rest of the family brings if there are no other options.
The other element is the amount of food; over catering and Christmas inevitably go hand-in-hand! There will no doubt be mountains of food on your table, but unless you have Marie Barone as your relative, you don’t have to eat everything! Stick to your normal portion sizes to avoid overeating.
Another tip to avoid that Christmas food coma, serve your meal up on a smaller plate.
We have a tendency to eat what ever is in front of us, so by reducing the size of the plate, you will finish feeling satisfied.
THE SWEETS There’s always dessert and it’s likely that you’ll be tempted by those traditional Christmas treats from when you were a kid. However, there are so many alternatives to all of those Christmas favourites nowadays, so you don’t have to miss out! Christmas Day is just one of 365 days in the year (366 this year!), so you will not derail all of your progress by allowing yourself one or two treats. By making sure that they only contain ingredients you can tolerate, and getting back to 100% nutrition come Boxing Day, you can enjoy it without the guilt and the guts ache!
Check out our collection of Christmas recipes here, cook one up and show it off to your family! Now, you may have some sceptics: I made a big batch of my favourite raw caramel slice one year, and everyone hated it! They all complained, left half-bitten pieces on their plates and went and shoved down the ‘normal’ vanilla slice that my aunty had made, but it didn’t bother me! I was satisfied in my decision to bring it, and I enjoyed it! Christmas is essentially about being together with your loved ones, so find gratitude in sitting down at the Christmas table with family and friends. Sure, there’s more temptation than usual, but you ultimately hold the power.