How to Survive Festive Feasting

Melanie Thomassian, registered Dietician 

Friday, November 30, 2007

The holiday season undoubtedly brings a host of delicious food and drink, which can really play havoc with our waist line and cholesterol levels! Some people throw their hands up and give into temptation as if it’s inevitable while others rationalize that it’s merely a time in the year when they’re destined to put on a few pounds.

Whilst there’s no reason to feel guilty about enjoying what you eat, it's worth remembering that, on average, Americans gain around 1-5 pounds over the Christmas period. Unfortunately, this excess weight is rarely lost again. 

Rather than giving yourself liberty to eat as you please, then trying to lose it again at the beginning of the year, why not prevent the weight gain in the first place?

Here are a few tips to help you merrily munch your way through the festive season: 

The Holiday Party

If you’re heading to a party don’t starve yourself all day so that you can eat what you like that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to overeat at the party. If it’s a buffet style meal, fill your plate first with salads and vegetables, and then take a smaller portion of the other foods offered.

Merry Breakfast Bliss 

It’s easy to miss this important meal with the chaos surrounding our festive preparations, but eating a good breakfast will ensure stress levels remain low and it also helps us avoid those indulgent Christmas chocolates, which always seem to be lying around!

Why not try making your breakfast more seasonal by making porridge with nuts, mixed berries and a dash of cinnamon? 

Holiday Dinner Delights

One of the great things about Christmas dinner is that most of us end up eating heaps more vegetables than we normally would. Serve them steamed, microwaved or roasted to preserve more of their nutrients, and cook without adding salt. If you want to add extra flavoring try using pepper, fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon instead. If you prefer to boil your vegetables, use the cooking water to make gravy- this way you won't be losing out on the nutrients. 

For your roast potatoes, cut them into larger chunks, this will mean that they absorb less fat and toss them in a little olive oil. You could also offer a plain potato option.

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