It’s that time of year again where every weekend is booked up with Christmas and festive get togethers and celebrations continue throughout the week as the year is winding up; then comes Christmas and New Years day. It’s a wonderful time of year to celebrate with friends, family and co-workers over a drink or dinner but it can also be a challenge for those who have a condition they need to control (diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol) or those trying to lose/ maintain their weight over the Christmas period.
It is important to enjoy the social occasions and enjoy the food you eat. You don’t want to completely deprive yourself during this time but you can still be mindful of the choices you are making which will help to keep your weight in control and your health on track.
Here are 6 tips to avoid gaining weight during the holidays
1. Be careful of drink choices – stick with water
Avoidance of soft drinks and juices and sticking to water can make a big difference to your total daily energy intake. It’s easy to drink down empty calories that won’t fill you up! Choosing water instead will be your best option. For example, just 250ml of coke will provide you with 108 calories. It may not sound like much but every little bit adds up.
2. Try limiting intake of alcohol
All alcohol is very energy dense and even more so when you combine it with mixers like soft drink or juice. As people relax towards the end of the year, they often find themselves in the habit of having a glass or two of wine after work each night – try leaving it for social events instead. Again, this can make a big difference to your overall energy intake. Remember that moderation is key and aim for no more than 2 standard drinks per day with at least 2 alcohol free days per week. Just one small glass of wine has around 109 calories and 162 calories in a schooner of beer – keep in mind that many people have well over the one!
3. Enjoy little portions of everything
Everyone loves Christmas food and it’s not often something you have on a regular basis. So it’s understandable to want to try everything! If you’re wanting to watch your weight/ cholesterol/ blood pressure, try having just a small portion of each food instead of a large serving of each. Don’t have 3 separate desserts, have 3 small squares of each. Don’t have half of your plate filled with meat, have a small slice of each.
4. Don’t go back for seconds or thirds
Avoid going back for extra serves. Take your time to eat what is on your plate and enjoy it. Let it settle and if you are still hungry, then go back for a small portion. If not, leave it.
5. Keep active
Try to get involved in activity over the Christmas break. Your social events may become more frequent but try work physical activity around it. Go to the beach for swims or in the pool, play with the kids and go for walks. Anything to get you up and moving!
6. Don’t let the celebrations roll on for months
Try not to let the festive meals and drinks roll on for too long. It’s wonderful to enjoy yourself and indulge a little but it’s hard to maintain your weight and health when the desserts/ large portions/ alcohol roll on for weeks. Try enjoy them on the day and then return to a normal diet in-between.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about nutrition, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!