By Steffani Ford – Eat Smart Nutrition Accredited Dietitian & Sports Dietitian
Christmas is typically a time for celebrations, catching up with family and friends and of course delicious food and drinks. But wouldn’t it be great if we could do all this without the associated overfull tummies, lack of exercise, weight gain and guilt? Did you know on average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period? While that may not sound like a lot the research shows most of us struggle to lose that extra holiday weight. This Christmas take a pledge with us to enjoy a healthier, guilt free Christmas!
Eat Smart Nutrition’s 6 Top Tips for a Healthy and Happy Christmas:
1. Plan ahead
Plan everything from your meals to your shopping lists and make a date with yourself for exercise. Planned meals and shopping lists will make you less likely to stock up on unhealthy treats for those “just in case” moments. As for exercise, make it a date with yourself, write it in your diary and don’t cancel on yourself.
2. Stay active
We all indulge over Christmas so offset a few of the extra kilojoules by keeping regular with physical activity, and even increasing it. Try new ways to keep active, dance the night away, organize outdoor family games or go for a walk with friends rather than coffee and cake. Whatever it is, commit to one hour of physical activity every day. Yes, even Christmas Day!
3. Keep your regular meal times
Just because you know there’s going to be extra food on offer at meals don’t skip meals in the lead up. This will likely leave you feeling hungry and overeating on unhealthy foods. Keeping regular meal and snack times will also prevent constant grazing.
4. Choose your foods wisely
At meal times fill up on fresh seasonal salads, vegetables and lean meats. Make use of the gorgeous summer fruits available. Limit things like stuffing, gravy and fatty cuts of meat. Pick treat foods you really enjoy rather than nibbling on stale crisps, or cheap chocolates – instead, hold out and enjoy that piece of Christmas pudding.
5. Watch those drinks
Alcohol and sugary drinks can pack a punch to the calorie count. Stay hydrated, alternate water with alcoholic beverages, volunteer to be designated driver or make flavoured sparkling water with fresh fruits and mint instead.
6. Relax and Enjoy
Eat slowly, enjoy and savour every mouthful of your favourite foods. Ditch the food guilt, don’t dwell on a bad meal and don’t let a bad day turn into a
bad week. Start fresh at every meal. Most importantly, take time out for yourself, relax and enjoy the time with family and friends.
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