1. Don’t skip meals
Avoid skipping meals as this usually leads to snacking on calorie-dense treats instead of more nutritious meals and encourages you to overeat at the next meal. With all the snacks and treats hanging around at christmas time it’s easy to fill up on these and get out of our usual routine. Start the day with a good breakfast that contains protein from eggs, greek yoghurt and a protein powder such as eggs on toast, natural muesli and greek yoghurt or a protein smoothie.
2. Rethink your drink
We tend to forget that alcohol, juice, smoothies, soft- drinks, milkshakes and flavoured milks contain calories. Unfortunately our bodies are not great at registering the calories we consume from fluids and before you know it you may of very well consumed a third of your daily calorie intake just from your fluids! Keep a jug of ice cold water with fresh fruit slices nearby and alternate your alcoholic beverage with water or mineral water. Kombucha is also a great alternative to soft-drinks as they’re low in sugar, fizzy, come in fruit flavours and are potentially good for your gut health!
3. Get rid of the guilt
Beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t eat over christmas is not the best way to go about things and only sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food. Classifying foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can lead people to being making a moral judgement about themselves based on what they’ve eaten. For example “ I’ve been so bad, I ate too many carbs”. This all or nothing, black and white thinking has been shown to increase the likelihood of binge eating. It is natural for humans to crave a variety of foods and therefore when we try and deny ourselves of the foods we love over christmas, we often feel physically and emotionally deprived. This deprivation and guilt often drives people to eat, which commonly leads to overeating and bingeing. Allow yourself to be flexible with your eating over christmas without going crazy.
4. Keep your body moving
Take advantage of the fact that you may have some extra time over the christmas break and commit to moving your body in some way or shape every day. Exercise does not have to be limited to the gym and can include swimming, walking as a family, bushwalking, yoga, wake boarding and so much more. If you’re away on holidays, walking is the best way to become familiar with your new holiday location and explore new sites. Sometimes we also tend to eat out of boredom over the holiday period. In fact one study founds that engaging in 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise a week was enough to protect you from an entire week of over-eating. Exercising before and after meals can also help you better manage your waistline and blood sugar levels after eating.
5. Choose smart snacks
Although there’s room for cabanossi and cheese at christmas time, try and jazz up your christmas platters and choose smart snacks between meals. Healthy eating doesn’t have to go out the door between christmas and new years. Examples of smart snacks include:
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Wholegrain seedy crackers e.g. carmans crackers
- Vegetable based dips like roast pumpkin, hommus, beetroot dip, tzatziki
- Sun-dried tomatoes, olives and antipasto in olive oil
- Smoked salmon
- Fresh fruit
- Vegetable sticks