You know the festive season has begun and there are many Christmas lunches with extremely tempting foods that are overloaded with calories.
To avoid looking like Father Christmas in January, I have put together some guidelines for you to make healthier choices when deciding on what to eat over this time:
- If you attend lunches or work functions where there is a buffet or platters served then look out for the following:
- Fruit or vegetable platters
- Platters with healthy sandwiches
- Cheese and crackers platters
- Please avoid eating platters that contain samosas’, spring rolls, sausage rolls, chili bites, meat balls, Buffalo wings, potato cakes or any other foods that have been fried.
- Now if you are busy planning your own Christmas lunch or dinner menu consider the following:
You can make your roasts in a kettle braai instead of cooking them in the oven with lots of oil or basting. If you are cooking beef or lamb then cut off all visible fat and if you are cooking chicken then remove the skin before it is cooked.
Use herbs and spices instead of salt to season food.
Try to eat most of your vegetables raw. If vegetables are cooked use only a small amount of water and little salt. Do not add margarine, cream, oil or sugar when cooking vegetables.
If you are eating salads instead of vegetables then eat them without salad dressings and mayonnaise or make a dressing using low fat plain yoghurt and herbs.
When it comes to your desserts try and pick a lower fat option. For example, make your trifle with sponge cake, homemade custard without sugar, fresh fruit and leave the cream out or use fat free or low-fat cream. You could also make fresh fruit salad with fat free or low-fat yoghurt. Otherwise, if you insist on eating your favourite Christmas pudding try avoid having any cream or ice cream with it.
- First of all, start cutting down on your portions of food;
- Make healthy food choices. Only buy healthy foods and avoid stocking your kitchen with fatty and sugary foods that can become a temptation;
- Plan your meals ahead and make sure there are healthy choices on the menu;
- When you crave something, eat a small portion to satisfy your craving;
- Drink diet cold drinks (e.g. Tab, Coke light, Coke Zero, Fanta Zero, Sprite zero), instead of regular cold drinks that contain lots of sugar;
- Drink lots of clean and safe water (about 2 litres a day);
- Eat slowly and chew food properly;
- Eat out of a smaller plate. There will be less food on your plate and you will avoid overeating;
- Use as many “low fat” or “fat free” products as possible;
- Cut down on oil and margarine intake, remember you can use 1 teaspoon of oil per person per meal;
- Increase your daily fibre intake. Fibre will make you feel fuller for longer. Food rich in fibre includes: brown and whole wheat bread; whole wheat grain products; brown rice; crushed wheat; whole wheat cereals; oats; fruit and vegetables with their skins; beans, peas and lentils;
Now some tips on getting back into Shape after the Festive Season:
And lastly, exercise Try to exercise at least three times a week for at least half an hour at a time.
By Melissa Pyle, BSc. in Dietetics, Registered Dietician (SA)
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