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 2019 off 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 other foods that we usually wouldn’t go for. Here are some things to 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! Keeping up the waters not only helps you to pace the 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; 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 occasion, eat healthy meals as per usual beforehand. Quality protein and healthy fats will keep you satisfied for longer, while fibre-rich carbs 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. (This will also make your 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 balanced 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