17 December 2018
December (and January) can easily turn into one big party. Our calendars are full to the brim with end of year functions, catch-ups, work drinks, and of course Christmas with the family and New Year’s with friends. By the time we get to the other side, we have probably overdone it a little—and are seeing the consequences. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and then, taking a balanced approach is key—but it’s something that many of us forget all about.
We know that healthy eating and drinking reduces our risk of cancer. Did you know that Aussies gain up to two extra kilos over the holiday period? So here are six easy ways you can feel merry, without the Christmas kilo creep.
1. Give non-food gifts
Everyone loves an active or practical gift. Think backyard cricket set, sports balls or Frisbees. Kids love water pistols, bubbles, and things to play in the sand with. For practical, think an umbrella, thermos, BBQ utensils, portable phone charger, first aid kit, or tools. These ideas and many more can be found in most $2 stores, making them affordable.
2. Start the day right
Start every day with a healthy, high-fibre breakfast. It will keep you feeling fuller for longer and help you resist overeating at morning tea and lunch time. Examples include high-fibre cereals (such as Weet-Bix, porridge or bran cereals) with a sprinkle of fruit on top, or grainy toast with vegetables such as baked beans, or tomato and avocado. If you’re heading to a party, grab a piece of fruit to have on the way to fill up your belly so you don’t fill up on snacks.
3. Be the one to bring a salad
Have you been asked to bring a plate to share? People will be grateful for a healthy choice amongst the other foods, especially if it’s not a boring salad. Try something creative beyond the standard lettuce/cucumber/tomato combo with these fresh, in-season recipes:
Strawberry and spinach salad
Halloumi, zucchini, green bean and tomato salad
Watch out for high-kilojoule food traps like salads loaded with creamy dressings, potato bake, store-bought dips and high-fat crackers. Smarter swaps are salads dressed with lemon juice or red wine vinegar; oven-roasted rosemary and garlic potatoes; and homemade hommus with toasted wholemeal pita bread and veggie sticks.
4. Rethink your drink
Alcohol is a big part of social gatherings. Plan ahead and decide in advance which events you will drink at and which you won’t. On those days when you do decide to drink, try to have no more than two standard drinks per day. Alcohol and soft drink contains a lot of kilojoules. For a low-kilojoule hack, use soda water as a mixer, or add fruit and mint to soda water as a refreshing alternative. Remember, not only does water keep you feeling hydrated, but it also helps to stave away hunger!
5. Step away from the snack table
Junk food is hard to resist. Even healthy snacks like dried fruit and nuts need to be eaten in moderation as they are high in kilojoules. You can limit a serving to one small handful, but on food-filled occasions like this, out of sight out of mind!
6. Be committed to keep moving
Your gym membership payment doesn’t take a holiday! Sticking to your physical activity routine will keep you energised and work off any extra food or drink intake. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a little extra time off, so you can probably fit in a Netflix binge AND a brisk walk.
Also, before the kids break you by saying ‘I’m bored’ every five seconds, be on the front foot by wearing them out with a regular visit to the local playground, park, beach or nature trail.
Wishing you a healthy holiday!
Community Education Project Officer
To read more about reducing your risk of cancer, click here. For more healthy eating advice and recipe ideas, visit livelighter.com.au