There is nothing better than a barbeque on a glorious summer day or a big family gathering around the large dining table, sharing food, drinks and laugher. The holiday season is a time of fun and celebration, but it is also the time that we tend to overindulge, eat the foods we normally wouldn’t and drink more than usual. So how do we stay healthy over the silly season?
1. Make healthy food choices throughout the day.
Parties often mean circulating canapes and sliders, nibbling here and there…which means more often than not eating more than is desired and not being quite satisfied. Before heading out, enjoy a deliciously healthy meal rich in vegetables and wholefoods which will help you feel nourished and satisfied before you go. When you get to the party, you are less likely to over indulge
2. Fill your plate with veggies.
At special events, food tends to be higher up on the indulgent scale … and why not! It’s the holiday season! Rather than having all those chicken wings, lasagne and steaks, fill your plate with lots of vegetables and salads and enjoy a palm sized piece of fresh protein. Not only are you getting a delicious dose of phytonutrients, you also get to enjoy the fibre, satiety and health benefits that comes with it.
3. Keep active.
During the holiday period, exercise often gets pushed down the To-Do list. Stay active, by going for a walk along the beach, have swim, while the family is around how about a game of tennis or backyard cricket. Instead of going out for a meal with friends, how about catching up for a stroll. Exercise helps increase energy output levels, supports weight management and encourages healthy lifestyle patterns. It’s the perfect time to slow down with a post dinner evening walk, or hitting the dance floor and having a boogie.
4. It is ok to say no.
It can be one of the hardest things to do, but it really is ok to say no. In fact, it often takes more strength to say no than it does to say yes. If you have too many events on, it is important to take time for yourself and say no. If you don’t feel that like that extra drink, its ok to say no and swap to water.
5. Take a plate.
For your next BBQ or gathering, ask to help out and bring a plate. Create a delicious healthy meal that you know you will enjoy and that you would love to share. This way, you know there will be a healthy option that you can enjoy.
6. Skip alcohol for the nights you are staying in.
The nights that you are home relaxing is the time to try and avoid that evening wine. It is important to have alcohol free days to give your liver a rest, allow for our natural detoxification pathways to work and support over health. Moderate/high alcohol consumption (2 – 4+ standard drinks per day) pose long term health risks. The Australian Government recommend at least two alcohol free days per week, but really for health, the more alcohol free days the better.
7. Stay hydrated.
Celebrations and gatherings often mean a summer beer or cocktail in the sun, the key is to stay hydrated (with water). Whether you drink alcohol or not, just being out in the Australian sun can dehydrate our body and our skin. It’s important to enjoy enough water throughout the day, approximately 1.5-2litres. For a little variety try adding fresh slices of lemon, lime or cucumber or a sprig of mint. Having a glass of water between alcoholic beverages is another way to stay hydrated and still feel like you are being social.
8. Eat the rainbow and boost the antioxidants.
Fresh, delicious produce is rich in antioxidants. Our body naturally requires antioxidants to protect our cells from free radical damage. When we drink alcohol or during long periods of stress, we require higher intake of antioxidants to support our general health. Enjoying wholefood antioxidants also supports skin health and lustre.
9. Give your liver some extra love.
Our liver is one of our key detoxification organs, and sometimes it needs a little extra love to help function at its best. Bitter foods such as rocket, Radicchio and dandelion greens all help to stimulate digestive juices and liver function. Specific herbs such as Milk Thistle (also known as St Mary’s Thistle or Silybum marianum) and Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale radix) also have a strong affinity with the liver. Dandelion root tea can be found at most health food stores, and now in most supermarkets and has a strong bitter taste.
10. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
The silly season is one to be enjoyed with friends and loved ones. There is always room for a little bit of indulgence - Keep focus on the fun, not the food.