With Christmas and New Year holidays just around the corner, feasting is inevitable, especially with the rare occasions of having families and friends around you. However mindful eating is not about denying yourself the pleasures of eating. Instead, it is all about enjoying whatever we eat fully and the flavours of the holiday season.
Here are some quick tips to enjoy a gastronomic holiday meal without the excessive calories or weight gain during the festive season.
Faced with a variety of festive goods and driven by the celebrative mood, we tend to overindulge. That and not forgetting that festive foods tend to be richer and heavier than our usual meals, our holiday feasting can easily lead to excessive caloric intake. By starting with a broth-based soup (not cream) or a salad (lesser or without the dressing), it is easier to eat smaller portion of heartier food. Vegetable soups and clear chicken soups are examples of healthy options.
Alcoholic drinks and sweetened beverages such as carbonated drinks, cordials or fruit punch are full of calories. Choose diet drinks, unsweetened ice teas or lemon-infused water instead.
The feeling of fullness can take around 20 minutes before the brain recognises the signals. Eating too quickly overrides these signals, hence causing you to eat more. Moreover, eating slowly also encourages you to savour and enjoy your food better.
Skipping meals makes you feel hungrier at the next meal and might result in you eating more. Make sure you take your regular meals but reduce the portion slightly to accommodate a little indulgence during festive meals.
Instead of indulging in festive snacks with little to no nutritional values, opt for those high in fibre such as fruits and nuts. They are healthier alternatives that can make you feel full for longer periods, curbing your cravings for more goodies.
Festive season can easily be an excuse not to exercise with all the family and friends’ meetings and gatherings scheduled. However, consistent physical activity can help to prevent weight gain by expending some of the excess calorie intake and may even motivate you to stay focused on eating healthy. If you are not able to perform your usual activity, try increasing household chores or playing a game that involves physical activity (e.g. hula hoop, rope skipping, team relay, etc.) with your friends and family.