Navigating the festive feast: A guide to healthy celebrations

The holiday season is finally here and with it comes the warmer weather, Christmas parties, family get-togethers and of course, delicious meals. To help you navigate the festivities, our team has compiled some simple tips to help you make healthier choices without compromising on fun.

Be mindful of portions 

The abundance of festive spreads can be tempting, but a key to mindful eating is keeping an eye on portion sizes. Remember: Christmas is just one day out of the entire year, so of course you should enjoy what you want to eat and drink. However, it’s when this indulgent ‘day’ becomes a week, or the entire month of December that you might find it catching up with you. Mindful eating can be your friend during this time. Rather than piling your plate sky-high, start with small portions and savour each bite. This way, you can enjoy the variety without overindulging.

Hydration is key

It’s easy to forget about drinking enough water when you’re busy with festive demands and attending celebrations. Amidst the cheers and clinking of glasses, don’t forget the hydrating power of water. Staying hydrated not only supports your overall wellbeing but can also help control your appetite. 

If you decide to enjoy an alcoholic drink, try alternating with glasses of water to maintain balance and prevent excessive intake. You could also opt to drink a spritzer of white wine and sparkling water, add more ice and soda water to your cocktails and always ensure you are drinking at least two litres of water a day before you drink alcohol.

Choose smart starters

Navigate the buffet wisely by opting for smarter starters. By choosing wisely, you’ll be able to increase the volume of food you eat, without overdoing the calories. We love loading up our plates with fresh salads, veggies, and lean proteins before diving into the richer options. This can help curb your appetite and make it easier to enjoy treats in moderation. Listen to your body. Tune in to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness. If you are satisfied, resist the urge to keep eating just because the food is there. Remember, it is perfectly okay to decline seconds if you are content.

Slow down and enjoy each moment

The festive season is about more than just the food — it is a time to appreciate those special moments with loved ones. Avoid the temptation to overbook your obligations. Instead, make a commitment to slow down, engage in nourishing conversations, and appreciate the company of others. If you find yourself depleted after a party or gathering, make the space for yourself to recuperate your energy. This may take the form of a massage, gentle walk, or even just some uninterrupted space and time.

Move your body

It is important to maintain a balance between gentle indulgence and vigorous activities. Plan some physical activities during the holiday season, whether it’s a post-dinner stroll, a family hike or bike ride, or even some festive dancing. These activities not only burn those extra calories but also add an extra layer of enjoyment to the celebrations.

Plan ahead

If you know you will be attending multiple gatherings, plan your meals and snacks accordingly. Having a small, balanced snack before heading out can help prevent arriving at the party with a ravenous appetite. Keep these snacks handy – whether it’s cut up carrots, celery, trail mixes or protein yoghurt pots. The temptation for sweet, calorie-laden snacks won’t be as strong, giving you the space to enjoy a decadent treat every now and then. 

Remember, the festive season is a time for joy and togetherness. It is about giving and receiving – so ask yourself which gifts you can give yourself and open yourself to receiving love and appreciation. By making mindful choices and prioritising overall wellbeing, you can take pleasure in this time without compromising your health goals or depleting your energy stores. 

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!