By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Socially we all love to eat; it’s ingrained into us from a young age! Many social occasions are accompanied with piles of food and drinks and unfortunately it’s often unhealthy snacks, sodas, alcohol, meals and desserts. Whether it’s a birthday, Easter, Halloween, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other celebration it is often centered on loads of eating, with excess indulgences, which often leads to weight gains or poor health flare-ups. Over each holiday period a person can average 2 kgs (4.4lbs) or more of weight gain, unfortunately this weight gain is often permanent and can add up over many holiday celebrations in one year!
So why not this try to fill up on plenty of healthy meals and snacks to avoid unnecessary empty calories, sugar slumps, fatigue, digestive upsets, increased cravings and unwanted pounds the holiday season?
Swap ‘Starving for Satisfied’: Fill up on juices & smoothies
Here at Reboot we know the power of juice and the nutrients and the satisfaction that comes with consuming liquid plant-based nutrition. Juices and smoothies are a great filler nutrient-dense snack to consume before any celebratory get together. Going to a party starving is certainly going to set you up to succumb to all the wrong things. Go liquefied!
Swap ‘Chips for Sticks’: Go for raw veggies, not fried potatoes
It is estimated that people can consume their days’ worth of calories just in the pre-dinner snacks. Snack on vegetable pieces with a healthy plant-based dip can really help to avoid unnecessary extra pounds. Many premade dips are full of nasty additives and GM processed oils. Get familiar with the ingredients or better yet make your own in a whiz.
Swap ‘Candied Snacks for Natural Sweets’: Yes, even sweet potatoes can satisfy that sweet tooth.
Candied and fried snacks can really increase your calories unnecessarily and contribute to the elevation of your triglycerides and blood sugars. So better to enjoy a steamed or baked version or better yet a delicious plant-based appetizer.
Swap ‘Dairy Cream for Vegan Cream’: Surprise yourself with how creamy plants can be.
Soups can really pack a punch in many ways, choose a heavy soup and you can consume so many unnecessary calories while consuming a lighter version helps to reduce the appetite and continues to reduce the occurrence of over indulging.
Swap ‘Starchy for Skinny’: Heavy starchy vegetable dishes can pack on calories while lighter versions can taste just as good.
Many of the vegetables at Christmas are often the very starchy heavier ones such as potatoes, corn and peas combined with heavier ingredients. It’s great to break it up and replace some of these with lighter vegetable dishes, especially if you want to save room for grandma’s cookie recipe. One starchy vegetable dish with the rest being a lighter version is ideal. Instead of peas for the greens try asparagus, broccolini or other lighter dishes. Here is more on the fruits and vegetables that support weight loss and those that don’t.
Swap ‘Cooked Greens for Raw Greens’: You don’t need to say goodbye to a raw salad; pair it with your cooked vegetable dishes!
Don’t hang up the salad or raw foods for the cooler months, keep enjoying the benefits of raw vegetables in juices, salads, raw soups, smoothies and raw dishes. Here’s more on cooked versus raw. Enjoy these raw meals at your festivities.
Swap ‘Meats for Plants’: Skip the meat-fest and reduce your animal proteins with some favorite plant-based dishes.
People eat meat in excess during the festivities, many Christmas tables are piled high with every meat dish you can think of from pork, to turkey, to beef to chicken to dried or snack meats. Here are some great vegetable dishes that will satisfy anyone:
Swap ‘Sugary Cocktails for Lighter Versions’: While the heavy sugared and high calorie cocktails are tempting, the lighter healthier versions still do the trick.
Egg nog and other cocktails can contain a myriad of added chemicals, sugar and unhealthy fats. Here is more on the do’s and don’ts for alcohol over the holiday period and more on what’s in your cocktail! Try our delicious healthier suggestions here or simply select your favourite juice and add a small serve of alcohol such as vodka or gin instead:
Swap ‘Heavy Desserts for Healthy Sweets’: It’s the holidays, so you don’t need to say no to desserts wholeheartedly, because we have some options that you’ll love without the guilt.
In Australia this is easy as we are normally sitting in a pile of sweat on Christmas day complaining about the heat and humidity, so it’s easy to enjoy light desserts, but you can still enjoy warming healthy desserts in the colder climates without the bloat and lethargy that often follows, try our:
Remember to savor each mouthful rather than bolting down your holiday meal. When eating, you experience 90% of the taste in the first mouthful, while flavor and taste decline with continued eating, so work this to your advantage and really enjoy those first few mouthfuls then stop. Remember it’s still ok to enjoy a few indulgences but it’s important to note that Christmas is only 1 day and not weeks!