As the festive season approaches, our calendars start to fill up with work and social events. Nothing new.
However, events at this time of the year often leave us swimming (or drowning) in a sea of food and booze temptation. Here are a few of our party tricks to help you float through this year’s silly season so you are less likely to start 2020 on the back foot:
Practice a little mindfulness…
Eating, drinking and socialising go well together. Almost too well, in fact! When we are in a social situation we are more inclined to eat more food or eat foods that we usually wouldn’t go for.
To manage this, here are some things you can ask yourself when you hit a social event this festive season:
- Am I hungry or still hungry?
Go slow and have small portions, or take a break and re-evaluate later.
- Am I thirsty?
One of the best things you can do is stay hydrated, so keep up the water! It not only helps you to pace alcohol intake (your head will thank you the next day), it will also help to moderate your hunger cues.
- Am I enjoying this?
You don’t have to eat everything that comes past you, nor do you have to finish it. There is nothing wrong with politely saying “no” or putting it to the side.
- Do I want/like what I see?
If your favourite cocktail or dessert is on offer, allow yourself to have one. This doesn’t mean have as many as you like, but there is no need to deprive yourself as it will only lead to a distracting mental battle for the rest of the event.
- Are there healthier options?
Pass on the deep-fried items and wait for the fresher ones; scan the menu for cooking techniques like steamed, grilled and seared; eat the rainbow and avoid the beigey colours; choose whole foods like fruit and cheese over something loaded with added sugars; and, just because it is the festive season, it doesn’t mean your veggie intake gets a break so be sure to opt for them where possible!
Before the occasion…
- Don’t starve yourself for the event.
Eat healthy meals as per usual beforehand. Good quality sources of protein and healthy fats will keep you satisfied for longer, while sources of fibre-rich carbs, such as vegetables and legumes, will give you the energy to power on. This will ensure you don’t overeat, eat too quickly, or be tempted to reach for a sugary fix at the event!
- Keep moving!
Routines often get thrown out the window during the silly season, however, where possible try and sneak some form of physical activity into your day. Make the most of the warm weather – go for swims, evening strolls or pop into your air-conditioned gym for a quick work-out. (If getting more exercise is on the cards for 2020, this will also make that new year’s resolution less daunting!)
On a final note, while food and drinks are often the things that bring us all together, it doesn’t mean we have to overindulge. It is definitely possible to take a healthful approach. Make the most of the time you have with your family and friends with good chats, fun activities and delicious wholesome food.
By Jennifer Peters, ANutr
Public Health Nutritionist