Surviving the festive season: 2

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Dec 2, 12:41 PM in and . No comments.

It’s all in the planning.

Ok, so I did mention planning in tip 1 but this is all about planning your events.
Scout ahead. Make sure you know what foods and drinks will be on offer at each function- this way you will know how best to prepare and plan. It sounds a bit over the top but it does help.

If it’s a cocktail party or buffet style you can expect lots of fried starters or “brown” foods so the idea is to not go in hungry. Have a small snack before you go- like a glass of milk, some fruit, and tub of yoghurt or a handful of nuts. In fact, the ideal would be to have a vegetable soup or salad before you go. That way, at least, you would have had made sure you have included enough vegetables for the day. I recently attended two events in one week with no fruit or vegetables at all available. One night every now and then is not a problem but if you know you have a few buffet style events in a week, do you really want to be eating mini sausage rolls all week? Your body won’t thank you.

If it’s a three course sit down function or a “meal out”, get your planning head on again- do you need all three courses? Could you make do with two? If you are going to eat all three courses then choose wisely. Eat mindfully and think about whether or not you are actually full or hungry throughout the meal. Get an idea of the menu ahead of time, if you can, and have an idea of what you will be choosing before you arrive.

One of my clients recently used this strategy.

Julia, (not her real name), had been reducing her carbohydrate intake to help improve her insulin resistance. Imagine her concern when her work arranged an evening meal at a high end pasta restaurant! But it wasn’t a problem. Julia got on line and checked the menu out to see what her best choice would be.

She decided on:

  • Foods with lower carbohydrate portion sizes and no “extra added” items like bread or chips
  • Keeping it to two courses (one more carb heavy than the other)
  • Choosing what she really enjoyed and eating mindfully

This way, Julia was really looking forward to her meal and went in knowing she could relax and enjoy, based on her choices. If she had arrived at the restaurant and had been handed an unseen menu, she would have either; chosen what she didn’t enjoy, chosen with a binge mentality, (all or nothing), and/or spent the night feeling guilty.

Life is too short to feel guilty about food choices. It’s also too short to spend a month making yourself sick with bad food choices. Planning can help you enjoy those festive events whilst looking after your health.

Tags: Buffet, Christmas, Menu Choices, Planning

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.

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