Sea­son’s Eat­ings

You can avoid the kilo creep dur­ing the party sea­son with a few healthy tac­tics, writes Paula Goodyer.

Australian House & Garden - - THE CHRISTMAS ISSUE DECEMBER -

En­joy the hol­i­days with­out the dreaded kilo creep.

Christ­mas is a tough time for keep­ing the ki­los off, not be­cause of the day it­self but rather the so­cial marathon that starts in Novem­ber and ex­tends into the New Year. “You could have up to 10 par­ties on the cal­en­dar, and that means a lot of treat foods,” says Mel­bourne-based di­eti­tian Me­lanie McGrice.

We also cling to the old idea that Christ­mas is a time for feast­ing. That was fine a few gen­er­a­tions ago when we had less food, but high-kilo­joule food is now so abun­dant that we’re feast­ing all year round.

On av­er­age, Aus­tralians gain be­tween 800g and 1.5kg over Christ­mas, ac­cord­ing to Nu­tri­tion Aus­tralia, and re­search sug­gests this weight of­ten stays put. But with the right mind­set and for­ward planning, you can kick off 2019 at your pre-Christ­mas weight, says McGrice. Here’s how… Be re­al­is­tic about fu­ture weight loss “One rea­son peo­ple put on weight is [hav­ing] the at­ti­tude that it’s okay to in­dulge over Christ­mas be­cause they’ll lose it in the new year, but for some peo­ple this weight is harder to take off,” says McGrice.

Have a plan De­cide on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions for en­joy­ing treat food, but stick to healthy eat­ing the rest of the time. If you eat a big lunch, keep your din­ner light.

Eat… just enough. You might even en­joy Christ­mas food more if you eat less of it. “Some peo­ple eat to the point of dis­com­fort,” says McGrice, “but where’s the en­joy­ment in that?”

Lend a hand Be the guest who of­fers to pass the food around or to help out in the kitchen. As McGrice points out, you are less likely to be pick­ing at food if you’re busy.

Take con­trol If you’re in­vited to a party or bar­be­cue, take a healthy dish to share – per­haps a great salad. When it comes to drinks, try to limit your in­take of al­co­hol as it’s high in kilo­joules. Oth­er­wise, look for low­erk­ilo­joule op­tions such as wine or vodka spritzers with soda water.

“Peo­ple are be­com­ing more con­scious of stay­ing on track with health­ier food through the hol­i­day sea­son,” says McGrice. If you’re eat­ing out more of­ten than usual, check restau­rant menus ahead of time to make sure they in­clude leaner op­tions such as fresh seafood, sal­ads, stir-fries or bar­be­cued meat.

‘Sug­gest ac­tive get-to­geth­ers over the hol­i­days. Com­bine a so­cial catch-up with a pic­nic and a walk or swim.’

Beth Shee­han, Ex­er­cise & Sports Sci­ence Aus­tralia

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