The days are getting hotter, the sun is out for longer, and we are mentally clocking off because it’s officially the silly season with Christmas functions, corporate lunches, and after work drinks clogging up our social calendar.
I personally feel that there’s nothing worse than completely overindulging and then feeling regretful as it’s mitigated all the progress I’ve made toward my fitness goals for the summer.
So when there’s temptation all around us, how can we strive to actively make healthier food and beverage choices? Well, as a self-proclaimed foodie (I love to frequently quench my desire for a delicious meal) but also a person who takes my fitness and health seriously, here are 3 ways to make healthier choices as we head into the most festive time of the year.
Drink in moderation
I know it can be extremely tempting to booze up during every outing but I’ve made a rule that if it’s a client lunch function or an event where I will have just one drink, I’d rather have none at all.
Alcohol really is a source of empty calories and actually increases your appetite. By choosing to indulge in the lunchtime cocktail only to head back to work, I’m packing on extra calories.
Also, substituting the cocktail for a red wine (which is actually one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks you can get as it has high levels of antioxidants) or a simple spirit mix (my go to is a gin and tonic) is a great way to cut out additional sugars which directly correlates to more calories.
Offer to make a dish
If your family is like mine over Christmas, we love to make an array of dishes to share over the numerous meals we have together.
As you’re not making each dish, you’re not in direct control over what goes into it. It may range from mashed potatoes to a creamy egg salad, but offering to make a dish gives you a sense of autonomy and direct control of the ingredients that you’re putting into it.
I have two go-to’s in this scenario. One is a summer salad to freshen things up – think peaches, rocket and some torn burrata. The second is salmon. Salmon has so much nutritional value and is high in vitamins D and E along with omega 3. Baked or even smoked salmon with a side salad is a great meal that will leave you satiated. For an easy crowd pleaser, you could even go for a guacamole paired with tortilla chips!
Something fresh and healthy is always good to add balance to the overall meal, and if there aren’t many healthy alternatives on the table, it gives you confidence that you can turn to your own dish at the very least!
Don’t overfill your plate
Something that we’re guilty of at lunches and dinners is to stock up your plate but I think we really underestimate the value of pacing ourselves.
Eating a normal sized meal where you have smaller portions of each item will make you eat slower, which will allow you to understand if and when you’re already full. If you’re not, you can easily go and refill your plate but filling up from the start will increase your chances of tearing through the plate and feeling overfull quickly.
Here’s to wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!