Here goes the third post of my Festive series. Today is about enjoying festive foods whilst making wise choices, because let’s face it, deep down each one of us wants to hit the new year feeling great!
It took me a while to chop, change and trim my long list of how-to’s. So here is my short list of tips on eating well over the silly season:
- pick your battles: it is festive season after all, so accept a small proportion of cheat meals as par for the course, make these part of your plan and the bigger picture – which at the end of the holidays should still look convincingly healthy;
- portion sizes: the simple equation of calories in versus calories out will always ring true and portion control will produce the desired answer, think “small plate” when you dish up and skip second helpings;
- intermittent fasting: the benefits (improved digestion, enhanced fat burning etc.) of fasting come after about 18 hours, so choose one day per week where you have dinner at 7 p.m. and have your next meal at 1 p.m. the following day;
- alkaline foods: the ultimate goal is balance, but because most festive meals automatically contain acid-forming ingredients like sugar, refined grain, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, alcohol and caffeine, you should make a conscious effort to include alkaline forming foods (most vegetables) in daily meals; an acidic state supports chronic, degenerative illnesses, whereas alkaline state bodies bring on good energy levels, stronger immune function, slower aging and reduced pain and inflammation;
- breakfasts: diminish cravings for unhealthy food by starting your day with a balanced meal; the easiest option is blending quality protein, good fat, carbohydrates and phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plant foods) into a delicious complete-meal smoothie;
- drinks: keep alcohol to a minimum, especially sugary cocktails and pick alcohol free days; alcohol provides zero nutrition and sabotages your metabolism to process the alcohol first, sending most of what you eat with it straight into fat storage;
- nibbles: traditional snacks are loaded with calories and have a sneaky way of piling on to your belly without you even realizing it; choose sensible options like raw veggies with healthy dips (hummus, olive oil etc.);
- no thank you: instead of the auto-pilot “yes please”, try saying “no thank you” when tempted, once you’ve made the mind shift you’ll find a simple “no“ is a lot easier than you thought it would be;
- focus your energy on connecting with people at socials and soon the pull of the food platters will fade into the background;
Happy festive planning, let me know your comments and tips on sensible eating here!