- Bring a healthy dish to a party.If you are invited out to someone’s house, offer to bring a dish to the party, and then choose a tasty but healthy dish to bring. Socialising doesn’t have to include unhealthy, high fat foods, it can include yummy healthy options too.
- Always have a light snack before arriving at a party.If you arrive at a party or to a restaurant starving, then you are more likely to go straight for the high fat, high sugar foods. You are also more likely to overeat if you are too hungry. Rather have a healthy snack 1-2 hours before your social event, so that you can make wise choices and not over indulge at the event.
- Eat breakfast.Research studies have shown that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day. Don’t starve yourself the whole day if you know that you have a party on in the evening. Rather eat healthy, low fat, low GI meals with healthy snack in between.
- Don’t shop hungry.At this time of year there are many delicious treats beautifully packed and presented to us in the shops, luring us into buying them. To help you resist the temptation of buying too many unhealthy foods, make sure that you eat something before you go shopping. When you are hungry, you are more likely to buy high fat and high sugar food items.
- Don’t stock up on Christmas treats too soon.Resist the urge to start stocking up on Christmas treats now, because you will probably then start eating them earlier, and then buy more. Or, if you buy too many Christmas treats, you may be left with loads of goodies afterwards which you will then continue to consume after Christmas.
- Don’t nibble while preparing food.It can be tempting, so chew on some sugar free gum to help you avoid the temptation.
- Don’t hover near the food table at social events.If you do this, you will end up constantly nibbling and picking at all the tasty food, and you will forget how much you have eaten. Rather fill your plate up once and then move away from the food and focus on the socialising.
- Watch what you drink.Alcohol can easily contribute to weight gain as it contains a lot of kilojoules per gram (alcohol = 29kJ/g, fat = 38kJ/g, protein and carbs = 17kJ/g); It interferes with your metabolism which can result in increased fat storage; and drinks can contain a lot of sugar. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation, and make wise choices to avoid weight gain. Mix spirits with a low calorie mixer such as Coke Lite or Coke Zero, rather than opting for the normal Coke which is loaded with sugar. Watch out for beer and ciders as these are loaded with calories. Remember that the higher the alcohol content of a drink, the more calories it contains. If you drink cocktails, avoid ones made with cream, coconut milk or syrupy juices.
- Don’t use too much fat when preparing Christmas meals.There is nothing like a good Christmas roast with potatoes and vegetables. These meals can be healthy, or they can be a fat trap.Make sure that you prepare your meals using as little fat as possible. Turkey is a great lean option. Whatever kind of meat you choose, always choose a lean cut, remove all fat and skin before cooking, and cook with minimal added fat. When making a veggie bake, don’t drench it in oil, rather use a pastry brush to lightly add a little olive oil to the vegetables. Don’t add butter to your vegetables. Use less fat when roasting potatoes. Parboil them first and then lightly brush them with oil. Pop them in the oven, and soon you will have delicious, crispy roasties that aren’t loaded with oil. Keep the pieces of potato large, as this will reduce the amount of fat that the potato absorbs. If you are going to use meat juices to make a gravy, then drain the fat off first.
- Don’t deprive yourself of all treats.Having an ‘all or nothing approach’ is not healthy. If you try to restrict certain food items too hectically, you can possibly end up craving that food more and then eventually giving in and eat too much of it. Enjoy sweet and rich treats in moderation. But, then when you do eat them, savour them and really enjoy them.