For many of us, the Christmas season is often filled with family, friends and of course, food. As a dietitian, I often hear people telling me about how they anticipate this season will derail their health promoting efforts. It doesn’t have to be like that. Here are a few things to consider to keep you on track:
- Eating for celebratory reasons is NORMAL. Sometimes we forget that food is more than just nutrition; yes, we should eat primarily due to physical hunger/need, but we also need to acknowledge that we may eat for other reasons – traditions, celebrations, emotions, etc.
- Give yourself permission to enjoy all foods. I am a strong advocate for ‘all foods fit’. If we think in the lines of 80-20, we focus on whole, nutrient dense foods 80% of the time and allow ourselves the opportunity to eat other foods, what some might call ‘joy’ foods, 20% of the time.
- Aim for a balanced plate. Fill half your plate with vegetables and maybe fruit, choosing 2-3 different colours if you can, a quarter with a protein and the last quarter with a high fibre carbohydrate / grain. Not every plate you eat will look like this but it’s worth working towards!
- Limit alcohol on an empty stomach. While it’s probably best to limit your overall intake of alcohol, if you’re going to have some, consider having it with food as alcohol can increase your appetite and reduce your ability to make the most nutritious choices.
- Don’t skip meals before your evening party. You might be thinking that you’ll ‘save calories’ for supper, but in reality you’re actually putting yourself at higher risk of overeating.
- Be a great host. Part of that can mean ensuring you offer nutritious choices and allow guests to serve themselves.
- Learn the art of ‘No, Thank You’. You don’t have to eat every food that’s offered to you! It’s okay to decline food / beverage offered to you.