With all that we’ve been through this year, many of us are looking forward to some Christmas cheer. While the holiday season has always been a time for fun and festivities, letting loose a little too much with a couple of bites here and feast over there, can lead to some extra kilos that don’t seem to budge in the New Year.
If health is part of your New Year Resolution, here are 5 TIPS for a happier and healthier holiday season to get your started.
It seems that we are finally able to take the reins again after such a challenging year.
Planning ahead of the festive season saves you time and energy, especially when it gets busy towards the end of the year.
A key tip for Christmas is to buy only what you need. Plan out what snacks, drinks and foods you are going to serve. Choose healthier options by offering lighter nibbles such as cherry tomatoes, baby qukes and pairing this with low fat dips and spreads including hummus, tzatziki, roasted eggplant or capsicum dip. Alternatively make your own by using plain greek yoghurt as a base and add your own flavour. For example, minced garlic, onion, gherkins/pickles, smoked paprika, salt, pepper etc.
Avoid buying extra snacks and treats as having them in the house or lying around will only tempt you to feast.
As they say, out of sight out of mind.
The holiday season can seem like a blur, especially if you have lots of activities happening in the day.
Setting regular meal times is an easy way to eat mindfully and stop the temptation to graze all day. Beginning the day with a good, healthy breakfast that includes a source of fibre from wholegrain breads & cereals, fruit & vegetables can help to prevent an energy crash mid morning.
When it comes to treats it’s ok to enjoy a little indulgence, but be mindful of the recommended portion sizes to keep up with your health goals.
CHOOSE YOUR DRINKS WISELY
More than often, it’s the alcohol and other sweetened beverages that are the culprit when it comes to excess calories.
As the weather warms up in Australia, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. To make it fancy, you can use carbonated water or add in ice-cubes made with lemon, lime or fruit chunks for some refreshing flavour.
If you choose to drink alcohol, watch your intake as it can stimulate your appetite as more than often we would end up snacking on foods higher in sugar and fat.
Follow the guidelines set out by the Australian Government Department of Health and to reduce your health risk if drinking alcohol, have no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
Try something different – there are many lower carb alcohol options available nowadays.
KEEP IT CLEAN AND STORE FOODS SAFELY
The last thing you need during the holidays is to feel sick. Every year in Australia, there are approximately 4.1 million cases of food-borne illness.
Make sure to wash your hands properly with clean, warm water and soap before preparing any foods. Clean and sanitise any surfaces used in cooking, preparing and serving foods.
In the hot weather, remember to keep an eye on how long food has been left out at room temperature. The 2 Hour/4 Hour Rule states that foods within the Temperature Danger Zone (5 degrees – 60 degrees) including meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, seafood, cooked rice/pasta must be used or eaten within 2 hours and thrown out after 4 hours.
Store foods in clean, dry, airtight containers and refrigerate as necessary to help keep food for longer and reduce the risk of contamination.
For more information visit the Australian Institute of Food Safety
Finally, celebrate the Christmas season by keeping active with your family and friends. Whether you go for a walk, take a dip at the beach or stay at home for some good backyard cricket, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Talk to us about our Graded Exercise Programs
- Australian Government Department of Health , 2020, How much alcohol is safe to drink (online). Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/how-much-alcohol-is-safe-to-drink. Last accessed 04/12/20
- Australian Institute of Food Safety, 2020, Safety Tips for your Christmas Leftovers (online). Available from: https://www.foodsafety.com.au/blog/safety-tips-for-your-christmas-leftovers. Last accessed 04/12/20
- Australian Government Department of Health , 2020, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines (online). Available from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa1864. Last accessed 04/12/20