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Eat healthy at Christmas | 20 ways to save your waistline over the holidays

by Penina

I’m not really a person who likes to eat healthy at Christmas. If you are like me, you may be the person at the party who loves to stand at the food table at Christmas scoffing down chips and delicious homemade dips and Christmas mince tarts? Or perhaps you love to crunch on pork crackling while chasing all your food down with Champagne or beer? If so, these tips on how to eat healthy at Christmas are for you!
While I love the ‘go-for-your-life’ concept of Christmas (just can’t beat that kind of ruthless, random gluttony), this year I have made the decision that I would like to wake up on New Years Day with a flatter rather than fatter-than-Father-Christmas tummy.
Since I made my decision to eat healthy over the Christmas period and wake up in 2013 less the weight of a bag of spuds, my research has unfolded a large array of strategies and tricks.

Eat healthy at Christmas! Avoid looking like a stuffed Turkey!

See below for my top 20 tricks eating healthy over Christmas so you don’t wake up on Boxing Day looking like the stuffed Turkey at the table!

  1. In the month leading up to Christmas run, walk and diet like hell. Yes. Before the kids get off school for the holidays go on a health kick. Eat fruit during the day, run and walk every day and lose a few kilos before the holiday period hits. This will not only get you in good habits for the holiday season, but you will have some kilos up your sleeve so you can indulge.
  2. Secondly, make a solid plan detailing how you will deal with all your Christmas upcoming events. If you think there may not be healthy food at a party, take your own platter of fruit, olives and antipasto delights! Then pick from this platter at the party.
  3. If you know you are going to a party in the evening, eat light during the day. This way you will have some calories up your sleeve so you can indulge a little.
  4. On Christmas day, if you are standing at a buffet of amazing, delectable Christmas food and there are a choice of plate sizes. For example, big plate or little plate, grab the little plate. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Great! Now you can’t fit too much on that thing and you are committed. If you try to change the plate size now you will look greedy and piggy and the nosey eyes of those talkative relatives will all notice. Also, you will definitely get noticed if you take that little plate back for seconds. So there is no turning back now.
  5. OK. The next trick is to sample everything on the table. But only take a small amount of each item. This way you won’t throw a massive Turkey leg on your plate and then try to force other items on the plate next to it. This action will only force you to come back later to try other foods at the table because you ‘really wanted to try everything.’ No. Bad move. Slap that hand. Pick little pieces of everything on offer and fill your plate with an array of those delectable foods. Now go sit on a nice chair in the corner next to your favourite Aunty (who will make all the conversation while you eat) and savour each bite.
  6. Booze. Many people across the country do partake in a little drink on Christmas day just for fun or to ease any pain associated with hanging out with difficult relatives. But beware! What you don’t want to do is drink so much you abuse someone, or end up with a hangover so large you won’t surface on Boxing Day. No. Simply pace yourself. Either watch a clock, or the time on your phone, or make a rule to drink water between each drink and you will be skipping home with a merry smile on your face because you got little tipsy, kinda….
  7. Help out. Yep. This means helping your sister-in-law Emily clear the dishes away or help your uncle Simon to move the BBQ to a different spot under the marquee. Why? Because if you are working you are NOT standing at a table eating. Simple! And no. Don’t opt for the job of shooing the flies. This job is boring and it involves staring at Turkey stuffing and pavlova while you work. Bad move.
  8. If you are going to drink non-alcoholic fizzy drinks, go for mineral water on ice. Jazz up your mineral water with a diet-cordial or other diet beverage. You will feel like you are having a drink when you are not. The drink will taste just as nice and you won’t risk putting on weight from drinking those calories.
  9. If someone offers you leftovers, go for the good stuff. The prawns, fruit or veggies at the table. Don’t take massive servings of pavlova and Christmas cake home. You will simply nibble away at those leftovers for days and as 2013 approaches so will you encourage those little fat cells to take residence on your hips, thighs and waistline!
  10. If you are the host of Christmas and you have to make all the food decisions, try to go for the healthiest choices. Make your own hummus dip. Research how to make healthy puddings. Serve up massive platters of fruit, vegetables sticks and dips instead of fattening cheeses and chips. Ask everyone coming to bring a healthy salad and then eat those salads until you are beaming from all those good-for-you vitamins.
  11. If you live in a hot climate such as Australia always go for salads over vegetables cooked in fat. Spice up veggies with herbs and spices rather than creamy sauces. Char grill veggies on the BBQ and stick them on a platter. BBQ meat instead of roasting meat in its own fat.
  12. Be a social butterfly. That’s right. Run around and talk to everyone. Play with all the kids. If you are playing and talking you also don’t have time to eat!
  13. If there is seafood at your event definitely head for that corner of the buffet table. Seafood such as prawns or oysters are a fantastic low-carb choice for your small plate.
  14. Go for yogurt or sorbet style desserts and try to skip those fattening creamy ones. Otherwise indulge! But just take a small spoonful or portion of each.
  15. Fill your plate up with fruit from a platter and then top with your favourite dessert at the table, such as pavlova. Yes! You can have your cake and eat it too!
  16. Bake up pita bread to dip in homemade dips instead of eating chips.
  17. Always, always stock your fridge with fruit and healthy treats during the holiday season.
  18. Always keep a chilled bottle of water on you at all times. Water will fill you up and help take away any cravings for sugar.
  19. Try to steer clear of stressful situations in the holiday periods, which may cause you to eat emotionally. Yes. Stressful shopping trips at malls with screaming children will lead you straight to those ever inviting caramel donuts. I can vouch for that one!
  20. When on a road trip always pack healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts and bottles of chilled water. This way you won’t be tempted to dash into a servo for fried dim sims and coke.

Finally | Be bite-size bad!

  1. If you are going to be bad do it in a small way! Be bad but with smaller bite-size portions.
  2. If you are going to be good. Pig out! Yes. You can eat all the fruit, veggies, healthy dips and seafood you like.
  3. Eat only healthy foods you love, rather than recommendations from diet books. This way you will want to eat the healthy food because you like it.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season.
I hope you to see a healthy and happy version of you in 2013!

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