Christmas season is coming and with it, the usual worry “What about my diet?”. How can you resist homemade delicacies, drenched in olive oil, the cheeseboard, and charcuterie with bread, or the available desserts set at a Christmas dinner table?
There are always strategies that you can adopt before, during, and after Christmas dinner, so that you can cut back on the dietary excesses related to this holiday season.
On Christmas Eve, have standard meals throughout the day
During Christmas Eve, don’t be fasting. “Because I’ll be overeating later, I’ll have smaller meals during the day to compensate” is a thought process that has proven to be ineffective.
Favour a balanced and regular diet throughout the day and with foods with fewer calories (such as fruit or dairy). This way, you’ll be reducing the hunger sensation at the end of the day and you’ll eat far less on Christmas Eve.
When preparing Christmas dinner, don’t snack
If you’re in charge of preparing Christmas dinner, avoid snacking while cooking food. In case of cravings, resume your regular diet routine and sit down for a meal.
When you quickly nibble on foods, you’ll end up eating a larger portion of food, right before the brain can recognise satiety signals, triggered by nutritional ingestion, gastric distension, and intestinal hormone release. Thus, in case you’re hungry, take a break, prepare your usual meal and sit down to enjoy it.
Enjoy Christmas Eve, no mea culpa
During Christmas dinner, eat slowly, chew every food, and enjoy your meal, shamelessly. Put the silverware down and have a chat with your family members. These small strategies will not only promote the pleasure associated with the meal without eliminating any foods but will also prompt satiety mechanisms.
Whenever possible, start your meals with a vegetable soup course and ensure you’re including some vegetables in your main dish. Concerning foods with high levels of sugar and saturated fats, include them in fewer amounts.
As far as appetisers and desserts go, avoid nibbling on between treys. Choose previously which ones you intend to eat and place them on a dish so that you can have a visual perception of the actual intake you’ll be having. Research has shown that visual stimulation may cause an impact on satiety mechanisms and, consequently, on the amount of food ingested.
Alcoholic beverages contain a high-calorie level, and so they should be had with moderation. Whenever possible, though, favour water, tea or infusions, as the main choices.
On Christmas day, don’t sit down immediately after a meal
After you’ve had a full meal as is the Christmas eve or day, avoid sitting right afterwards. Try to take a short walk outside or you could have some recreational activity at home (like mimic or virtual games that would involve body motion).
Don’t adhere to restrictive diets to compensate for the overindulgence
You just have to return to your usual dietary routine and focus on having 5 portions of fruit and/or legumes of the daily recommended dose and drink at least 1,5 litres of water per day. Resume also the physical exercise in a regular way and weigh yourself frequently (yet not daily) to better monitor weight evolution.
What strategies can be adopted to avoid food waste around this holyday season?
As per the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations, around one-third of the produced foods worldwide are not eaten. The first step toward fighting against food waste starts at home. Click To Tweet The adoption of various strategies such as the prior planning of meals or reusing leftovers by applying other recipes can reveal effective measures.
1. Write a groceries list adequate to the number of people in your household
Before Christmas dinner, inform your guests, confirm their presence and question if they are planning on bringing some type of food product. This way, you can understand with certainty how many people you will have for supper and exactly what you should cook.
Write the groceries list ahead of time, based on the foods you already have in your pantry and the ones your guests said they’d bring. Ask beforehand if any guest has food allergies or intolerances, so you can ensure that whatever is being cooked can be safely eaten by everyone and that there’ll be no need to cook an extra course.
2. Save the legumes leftovers for soups or milkshakes
Whilst cooking your food, and if you have the chance and space for it, take advantage and convert your leftovers (raw), of whether fruits or vegetables, into fertiliser for homemade fertiliser. In case of it not being possible, you may still use the legumes stalks for soup base, or even use it to prepare broths (which you may freeze and access whenever necessary).
3. Share the leftovers with family or donate the exceeding food
After Christmas dinner, share the leftovers with your guests. This way, other than avoiding consuming the same type of calorie preparation during the course of several days, you can donate it to the needy. From the leftovers that are left behind at home, freeze them, in appropriate recipients and store them correctly.
4. Be creative and use leftovers for other recipes
Another food strategy commonly used to fight waste is using leftovers when making other recipes. Try using the meat or fish leftovers to prepare a pie or lasagna, for burgers and meatballs, or even a simple salad. Bread leftovers can be used for toasts, to prepare the breadcrumbs or bread stews, casseroles or briskets. In case there are some horticulture leftovers, prepare an omelette, or even get the most of it by preparing vegetable rice.
Enjoy the Christmas season with family, without thinking about your diet. And if you do think about it, book an appointment with a nutritionist and establish beforehand every food strategy you can adopt around Christmas dinner, so that you’ll enjoy the moment with more tranquillity.