After two trying years, it seems only fitting that we fully embrace the holiday season. The only problem is that whenever we have events or parties, it becomes more difficult to keep our calories under control and our weight on track. In general, the food served at events is relatively high in calories; finding lighter, healthier options can be difficult; and then there’s the alcohol, which packs a serious calorie punch. The good news is that there is a way to strike a balance between having fun socially and staying in control of your weight over the next few weeks. Never show up to a party hungry.
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the problems with parties and the foods that are commonly served is how easy it is to overeat. Pastry-based pies and quiches, as well as fried canapes, have at least 100 calories per serve, which means that just a few morsels quickly add up to more than a meal’s worth of calories, and you often don’t realise you’ve eaten at all.Making a concerted effort to eat a substantial snack or light meal an hour or two before your event, such as tuna and salad, Greek yoghurt with berries or nuts, or crackers with cheese and vegetables, will help to take the edge off your hunger. When you arrive at the party, you’ll be in a much better position to make good food choices rather than accepting any canapes that are offered to you. Keep your distance from the food.
Food availability is one of the most important predictors of food consumption, which means that if you are standing near the food, you will eat much more than if you have to make an effort to find yourself a snack.
This is not to discourage you from eating altogether, but rather to remind you to be mindful of your food choices rather than accepting whatever is offered.Avoid anything friedChicken wings, arancini balls, spring rolls, falafel, zucchini flowers, fries and wedges all have one thing in common… they are deep fried and likely in processed vegetable oil. Not only does this make these foods exceptionally easy to overeat, but nutritionally they offer very little other than a hearty dose of fat and calories.
Making a blanket rule of avoiding any fried food this holiday season will go a long way in keeping your overall calorie intake controlled, and make the decision of what to eat and what to avoid at parties a whole lot easier.
Commit to your trainingParty season is not the time to ditch training, rather it is a perfect time to ramp things up to help buffer the extra food and drink of the season. Make it a priority to stick with your gym or training schedule, and to walk as much as you can. Not only will this commitment keep you on top of your fitness, but it will help to buffer the effects of more indulgent eating and drinking.Learn the art of bufferingAt times we will all indulge in heavier foods and high-calorie meals, and it is not the one-off meals and occasions that cause issues with our weight. Rather, it is consistent periods of overeating that sees weight gain over time.
This means that there is no need to feel guilty for enjoying your favourite Christmas food and drinks, rather learning to buffer periods of over consumption with lighter meals is the key to weight control.This means that over the next couple of months, committing to a light or fasting day each week, or a regular light meal or soup, salad or a shake is an easy and effective way to keep your overall calorie intake controlled after a massive night or even entire weekend of overeating and drinking.You’ve got this!Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, the founder of Shape Me, the co-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast, and a prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in print and television media commenting on diet, weight loss, and nutrition.
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