Tips for eating well over the festive season

Christmas is all about good food, in moderation. NAQ Nutrition are to here to help you strike balance.

Happy memories from the holiday season are ones we all love to cherish, but not so much those few extra kilos that can appear from too much Christmas cheer.

To help you ensure you strike the right balance this year, keep these tips in mind:
1.    Be selective. At a function or on Christmas day, take a moment to survey the food provided and decide what you absolutely MUST HAVE and what you can leave behind.  Choose one or two of the most appealing foods and really savour them, taking time to focus on their flavour.  Then fill up on healthy fare like salads, vegetable dishes and fresh fruit. “But it all looks delicious”, we hear you say. Have a tiny taste of everything. This way, you won’t be missing out on anything, except that overfull feeling!
2.    Don’t start out hungry. Try not to attend an event feeling hungry as chances are you will be more inclined to fill up on the starters. Small bites here and there can really increase the amount of kilojoules/calories you are consuming. Sometimes, this can add up to the equivalent of a meals worth of kilojoules/calories or more before the main course has even been served. Before an event, consider snacking on something high in protein like reduced fat yoghurt, tinned tuna, boiled eggs, or cottage cheese and vegie sticks to control hunger.
3.    More on starters. Cheese, pastry based canapés, creamy dipping sauces, processed meats like salami and fried nibbles are all high in fat and best eaten in only small amounts. Focus on lower kilojoule options that are just as tasty, like fresh seafood, antipasto vegetables and olives and vegetable based dips.
4.    Go for quality not quantity. According to the display of Christmas treats in major supermarkets, you would be forgiven for thinking Christmas starts in October and goes for 3 months! For our waistlines, that means that fruit mince tarts and other Christmas delights can become regular additions to the shopping trolley, long before the holidays. Our advice is to buy and enjoy really good quality products just once over the holiday period when it actually is Christmas!  And if the last few years are anything to go by, hot cross buns will be out in supermarkets in the first week of January so prioritising quality over quantity is something to consider all year round.
5.    What about all the leftovers? If you are hosting a Christmas event this year at your place, why not make your guests’ day by divvying up leftovers for them to take home to reduce the amount of leftovers in your fridge. This can be especially good for reducing the temptation of cakes and desserts left lingering in the house in the days after Christmas. If you have leftover meats like ham or turkey, try freezing these into smaller meal size portions for later. Use leftovers in a healthy way, like adding ham to a vegie based frittata or turkey to a fresh salad.
6.    Stay active. Keeping on the move over the holiday season is just as important about being conscious of what you are eating. A day at the beach with a Frisbee or cricket bat, a trip to the local pool or an evening walk with family or friends are all enjoyable ways to fit in some opportunities to move your body. If you are someone who regularly exercises, try not to let these habits slip during the holidays by planning time for your fitness during the break.

Merry Christmas from the team at NAQ Nutrition!

NAQ Nutrition

NAQ Nutrition is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation. We aim to shape the health and wellbeing of our community through informed food choices. Food is life. Food is you. 

Healthy Food Healthy Planet is NAQ Nutrition’s community meal planner and recipe website. It aims to provide people with simple, healthy recipes that are tasty and won’t break the bank.