Are you going to be naughty or nice when it comes to your diet this holiday season?
Christmas is the time of year when boozy parties, rum balls, fried canapes and all manner of fatty delights infiltrate our homes, workplaces and social gatherings. And while that all sounds amazing for some of us, for those watching their waistlines, it can all get a little overwhelming. But never fear, there are ways to have your (gluten-free?) cake and eat it too. Here is your guide to eating and drinking a little more healthily this Christmas time, without sacrificing your chance to indulge a little bit as well.
HEALTHY CHRISTMAS TREATS
Five mince pies in a baker’s shop, round and fat with sugar on the top.
This is just one song lyric dedicated to the mouth-watering indulgence that comes with Christmas.
It can be tough-going for those looking to avoid the fatty stuff, but it doesn’t mean you have to cut a miserable existence through the holiday period.
There are plenty of treats you can tuck into that won’t break the calorie bank, including:
Flavoured popcorn: Ditch the butter for canola oil and experiment with all kinds of different, healthy flavouring options for a healthy snack.
Gingerbread: There are so many ways to create delicious treats using gingerbread. Cut down on the butter and use whole-wheat flour for less fat and more benefits.
Sweet treats: There are plenty of ways to concoct healthy, but sweet, options. Using ingredients like dark chocolate, coconut, truffles, dates, berries and nuts, you can experiment in the kitchen to create your own healthy sweets. A great way to spend time with the kidlets, too.
Throw a shrimp on the barbie: OK, we know they’re called prawns. But seriously, seafood is your best friend during a Christmas summer. Full of protein and light on all the fatty stuff, this is your chance to indulge in a seafood feast. Using basic ingredients like lemon and chilli, you can create plenty of healthy appetiser and meal options – just go light on the sauce.
Mocktails: Townsville Christmas and its warm weather lends itself to an ice-cold drink. There are plenty of ways to enjoy an icy cocktail without the alcohol, using fresh local produce like lychees to create something healthy and delicious.
Vegies are delicious too, ok? There is so much you can do with vegetables. Roasted vegie antipasto platters, dipping platters flanked by carrots and celery, stuffed mushrooms – the list goes on. There is no limit to the amount of vegetables you can eat, so get creative and enjoy a guilt-free feast.
ENJOY SOME CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, WITHOUT THE GUILT
An alcoholic drink or two is par for the course over the festive season, with Christmas parties galore presenting opportunities to indulge.
But there are so many empty calories in most alcoholic drinks, which can leave you carrying around more than just a sore head.
That doesn’t mean you have to abstain completely though. There are many options available to have a drink with friends and family without loading up on sugars and packing on the weight.
Substitute soft drink mixers for sugar free options – soda water and fresh lime makes for a perfect combination with many spirits as well (without any extra calories – at all).
PRE-EAT SO YOU DON’T OVEREAT
They say you should never go shopping while you are hungry. Well, you definitely shouldn’t walk into your office Christmas party on an empty belly either, because the temptation to gorge on fatty foods becomes almost impossible to resist. Enjoy a healthy meal at home before venturing out, and you will be far less likely to shovel mountains of canapes into your mouth.
While Christmas is a wonderful time to indulge, the warmer weather over the holiday period also presents a golden opportunity to be more active.
With the children home from school, plan out a list of activities where you can all be active. Cycling, swimming, walking, cricket (of course) – anything that gets you out of the house and on your feet.
If you are hitting the road for a holiday trip, try and book accommodation that includes things like a gym or a tennis court.
The New Year is also the perfect time to strategise your health and fitness goals for 2018, including signing up for a gym membership. You could even ask for one for Christmas, which will further motivate you to actually use it.
The holiday period is not really the best time to be losing weight. Instead, set yourself the goal of maintaining your current weight so you are not saddled with guilt and extra kgs in the new year.
By fusing healthy eating options with a summer full of activities, keeping your weight stable can be an achievable task without having to forgo any of the fun.
And remember, it’s OK to have a beer and a mince pie every now and then.
It is Christmas, after all.