Christmas can be a difficult time to eat well. Enjoying yourself shouldn’t mean undoing all the positive changes you’ve made throughout the year. By being careful with your choices you can afford to splurge a little.
Here are some tips to help you stay in control:
- Make the best choices you can. Accept that it will be more difficult than usual, and focus on maintaining your weight rather than trying to continue to lose it.
- Don’t feel obliged to eat everything on offer. Choose the foods you want most and be conscious of portion sizes.
- Watch the alcohol and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
- Keep up the activity. Balance any extra treats with a little more exercise.
- Focus on the healthy summer options available – plenty of salads, barbecues, fresh fruit, low fat dips etc.
- Enjoy energy dense foods in moderation. High fat or high sugar foods may be included in small amounts as part of a healthy diet.
- Keep to a regular meal pattern and never go to a function on an empty stomach.
- If you’re hosting a Christmas party, have plenty of low fat snacks on offer for yourself and your guests.
- If choosing foods from a buffet, use a smaller plate.
- Chat and mingle at social gatherings. Don’t hover near the food or you’ll be more likely to eat too much.
- Remember Christmas is only one day. It’s what you do most of the time that really matters.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself. Make the most of spending time with your family and friends.
Benefits of Eating Socially During Christmas Festivities
by Dorothea Vallianos, Clinical Psychologist
One of the greatest joys of Christmas is gathering around the people you love and cherish and sharing a meal with them. Focusing on them and not on what you should and shouldn’t eat is important and vital in helping you enjoy the multitude of Gifts their Presence will bring you. When you gather around a table to eat the benefits are even more plentiful.
Some of the benefits of eating together include:
- We exchange the stories of our life, what we did this year, the highs and lows. This helps us process what has happened because we express thoughts and feelings through the narrative of our story.
- We learn from our own and other’s mistakes and triumphs. This gives us hope and courage to overcome our trials and celebrate our victories.
- Bonds are created that not only define different aspects of ourselves but weave the fabric of who we are and where we belong.
- Emotionally we can unwind, relax, be comforted and comfort others.
- Physically, we slow down our eating when we talk, listen and interact, and this also aids digestion. Biologically our body benefits from structure and regular mealtimes provides this.
- Socially we get to observe and learn how to engage in conversations.
- It’s good for our brains at every age. We have an opportunity to problem solve and help ourselves and others.
- Psychologically, teenagers who eat regularly with their family showed lower rates of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem, alcohol and drug use.
- Longevity and reduced rates of chronic illness are reported in countries where eating with family and friends regularly is part of their culture.
- Eating together grants new perspectives on our own lives and we gives us an appreciation of other’s.
So this year during the Christmas festivities, while it’s important to focus on healthy eating, remember that eating can be more than simple nourishment. Sharing a meal together is a celebration of human connection with multitude of health benefits.