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Happier, Healthier Festive Feasting

The festive season is upon us and with it comes the challenge of maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle. It is generally a time filled with delicious meals, desserts, drinks and a time of less exercise.  So how can you make better holiday food choices this year?

Be prepared! If you know what the challenges upfront are, you will be able to come up with solutions to manage them.  It is also important that you consciously decide that your healthy lifestyle is worth preserving, so let’s explore a few ways of how we can do exactly that:

  1. One of the first things people often do is lose their eating routines, specifically they stop eating breakfast. Try to stay in the habit of eating first thing as a good breakfast will always set you up well for the day.  Also remember to continue to eat regularly (ideally every 3-4 hours) even if you are eating slightly different foods – this will ensure that you do not overeat later in the day.
  1. Have healthy snacks available at all times. You are more likely to eat these when you are hungry, even if unhealthy ones are on offer too. Do try to keep snack portions small though. They are only meant to tie you over until the next meal.
  1. Don’t go out to dinner hungry. You can cut back a little during the day if you know you are going out for a lovely dinner but eating too little will only undo your attempts at healthy eating.  If you are a bit hungry before going out have a small snack so that you don’t devour everything in sight at the restaurant.
  1. When serving your meals think veggies, veggies, veggies! Start by filling your plate with salad and veggies so that there is less space on the plate for the higher calorie options.
  1. Try to listen to your body signals even when at a function. We never feel good when we are completely stuffed so try to stop eating when you are ‘satisfied’… and remember… you will eat again.
  1. When on holiday, have the occasional treat but fill up on the healthier foods that keep you fuller for longer. Treats should be eaten in small amounts, and eaten slowly, perhaps with a cup of coffee/tea to savour the taste.   Have festive treats occasionally but try not to have them everyday.
  1. Occasional overeating will not ‘ruin’ your health goals. As long as you get back into better habits the very next day, no harm is done.
  1. Keep hydrated. When you arrive at a function always order water first (make it sparkling for variation). Make a wise decision about what you will be drinking. An excellent holiday drink is sparkling water with a splash of cranberry and lime served in a tall glass
  1. GO enjoy yourself! Focus your attention on your family and friends and on the fun and celebrations. Laugh a lot.  This is what the holidays should be about.