How to Stay on Track During the Holiday Season
Trainee dietitian Claire, from @nutritionfoodition on Instagram tells us more about easy ways to stay on track during the silly season.
The holiday season is well and truly upon us, and during this time it can be easy to give in to the temptations of changing our portion sizes and overindulging in this period. Sticking to these healthy habits and continuing your healthy lifestyle throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday, will ensure you keep on track for a healthy start to 2021!
Follow a healthy plate model
One of the best things about the holidays is the delicious food, but this doesn’t mean we have to stuff ourselves more than the turkey on Christmas day! That uncomfortable feeling of fullness before our much-loved afternoon nap can be avoided by being mindful about what we actually put on our plate.
Following a general healthy plate model is a great way to avoid thinking too much about portion size, and rather just enjoying the food we eat.
Imagine your plate is divided into 3 parts; a half, a quarter and another quarter. Aim to fill have of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like salad, greens or fruit.
One quarter of the plate should be starchy carbohydrates – think potato salad, corn, grains or pasta.
The last quarter of your plate should be filled with your favourite protein; chicken, turkey, fish, tofu or cheese.
As a general rule, healthy oils like olive or canola oil, salad dressing or occasionally butter should be limited to two thumb sizes but this will often be out of our hands on a special day like Christmas so remember to enjoy yourself and not get too hung up on these fats.
Be mindful of your alcohol consumption
Alcohol can be deceivingly high in calories and contribute to weight gain and other unhealthy habits. So how can we stay in control of our alcohol consumption during the festive season?
- The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Alcohol guidelines recommend drinking no more than two standard drinks on any one day. For healthy men and women, abiding by this recommendation reduced the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury1.
- Alternate between soda water or other non-alcoholic drinks between alcohol beverages
- Drink water between alcoholic beverages to prevent dehydration
- When purchasing alcohol, choose a smaller bottle or quantity to limit intake
- Set a personal goal to limit the consumption of drinks each night
- Avoid premixed drinks with added sugars – these can be very high in calories and sugars and there are often sugar-free alternatives.
Move Your Body
We’re so lucky to have a warm Christmas. Now is the perfect time to soak up the summer weather and enjoy the sunshine. Whether it’s going for a walk with your dog or family, going to the beach for a swim or going for a morning coffee to support your local cafes!
Over the holiday period you might have more time than usual so try to get creative with your exercise and find a way of moving your body that you enjoy. Swap your usual Christmas café catch-up for a day at the beach, find some waterfalls or hikes if you’re up to it, maybe even find a new bike path in your area, or try to check out your local pool.
After a year spent inside, now is the time to make the most of life and see this as an opportunity to get moving again in the fresh air and sunshine.
The physical activity guidelines for Australian adults recommends spending at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days. You’d be surprised how far you can get in 30 minutes!
Hydration is More Important Than Ever!
With the warmer weather comes an increase in our body’s natural response to controlling our temperature: sweating. This is why staying hydrated is even more important at this time of year!
We know that water is essential for life, and when we sweat more than usual we need to consolidate this with increased fluid intake. This includes rehydrating after working out and spending time outside!
Water is much better for you than other sugar, sports or energy drinks for fluid, since it doesn’t have any calories2.
You know you’re not having enough water when your lips, mouth or tongue are extra dry, you’re more thirsty than usual or you have a headache. Your urine is also a great indicator of your hydration – the lighter the better3!
Ultimately, the holiday season is about enjoying ourselves and continuing to practice the healthy lifestyle habits you’ve worked on during the year. Remember these tips and you’ll be heading into 2021 ready to smash your goals.
I hope everyone has a great holiday and a healthy start to 2021!
- Dietitians Australia. Smart Eating For You. Canberra, Australia; 2013
- Australian Dietary Guidelines [Internet]. National Health and Medical Research Council; 2013 Feb [cited 26 November 2020]. Available from: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines.pdf
- Dehydration – the condition all Queenslanders need to be aware of [Internet]. Health.qld.gov.au. 2020 [cited 26 November 2020]. Available from: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/am-i-dehydrated-dehydration-adults-children-elderly-symptoms-signs-treatment-heatwave