No one wants to feel deprived of Christmas cheer and to miss out on all the great food that is an inevitable part of the celebration at Christmas.The same applies to Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day and other occasions. it also applies to food prepared and donated for fetes, fairs and fun raisers. But most food gifts are too sweet and quite frankly grossly unhealthy. Why does it have to be that way.
You don't want to offend anyone by appearing to be a Grinch by saying no to the stuffing, sweets, chocolates, pudding, pavlova and all sorts of other things. The gifts are tempting and indulgent and it is hard to say: "No Thanks!"
People on a diet don't want to destroy all their efforts through a the silly season of overindulgence and calorie laden gifts, which may turn our trim new bodies into Santa's pouch.
The key to success in controlling overindulgence with food gifts is to make simple swaps and to set the example by making and given healthy foods.
This is much easier to do and is less like to offend anyone.
At Christmas most people on diets just want to eat and enjoy whatever they want but with strict restraints. Letting thins go for just one day is fine - not five days or twelve days of Christmas mentioned in the classic song. Stop overindulgence at Day One - Stop at the 'partridge in a pear tree' - sounds healthy!
Swap the slough and 'sitting around' for regular exercise breaks at the right time
Keeping active over the holiday period can offset the impact of the over-indulgences. Don't stop exercising, but keep to your schedule, without being a bore. This doesn't mean leaving the Christmas celebration to go for a run, but you can keep active. You don't want to return from holidays to face a "you're fat again" notice from your scales and have to work much harder at the gym to work it off. Being disciplined and keeping active in creative ways will help.
Swap huge stuffed plates for smaller servings rich in taste sensations
Research has shown that when you eat you get 90% of the taste in the first mouthful. The sense of flavour and tastes declines with subsequent mouthfuls that follow. So opt for a small servings of a variety of things and savour them as much as possible. No seconds please.
Swap will-power defeats with mini will-power wins with non-food rewards
Most people say that will-power is the cause for Christmas over-eating as it is at other times. Keep motivated and in control by setting yourself small mini goals over the holiday season with non-edible rewards. This will help you control your willpower and stop being 'so-silly' during the 'silly season'.
Swap fatty dips and snacks with tasty healthy alternatives
Pate and many of the Christmas dips and snacks are full of calories and saturated fats. There are delicious healthy alternatives. One great way of coping with this is to bring your own dips and snacks to the celebration! Sneak them, put them on the table so no one notices. Or be nice by making a contribution without offending your hosts. Make them as interesting and appealing as possible - not the carrot and celery stick stuff, but fabulous alternatives. See the related article section for ideas.
Swap emotional eating with proactive and positive engagements
Emotional eating is a constant danger that can get worse at Christmas as you struggle to deal with all the emotional baggage of dealing with the relatives. On the other hand the Christmas cheer itself may make you overeat just because you are happy. Try to distract yourself with positive swaps and keep in control of those trying situations by being proactive and keeping things as positive as possible. Be aware of the dangers of emotional eating, which is a special temptation in the silly season.
Swap high GI (Glycemic Index) foods for low GI alternatives
Simple Christmas lunch swaps such as fat-laden roast potatoes, for dry roasted whole potatoes roasted in their jackets or sweet potato, corn or carrots keep the GI low. Swapping white bread crumbs in your stuffing for wholemeal low GI bread or traditional oats also lowers GI. Also offering fresh fruit as well as custard pavlova and sugar laden sweets can avoid the glucose peaks and reduce over-eating.
Swap winter fare for summer style (in Australia)
In Australia we have Christmas in the middle of summer, yet we persevere with roast turkey and all the vegetables. Many Australian are shifting to lighter alternatives such as seafood and salads. You can replace the roast pork with crackling with roast lamb or eye fillet. Dry cooked barbequed vegetables are a wonderful and colourful alternative to heavy roast vegetable dishes. There are many fabulous salads that can be added to tradition Christmas meals.
Swap a glass of bubbly for a glass of sparkling water
Sounds boring but alternating drinks will reduce your calorie intake and can help you maintain better food choices. Start with a glass of champagne or wine, but male the second glass sparkling water or low-cal beer. Avoid the punch or just try a tiny sample. It is widely known that drinking alcohol lowers people's to "say no" when tempted by poor food choices. If you are to drink, opt for lower carbohydrate beverages such as low alcohol beer or vodka with soda and a squeeze of lime. Try to set a limit and stick with it.
Swap heavy Christmas plum pudding for lighter, fresh fruit sweets
Christmas pudding with custard is one of the delights on Christmas Day, but have a small serving and make a range of alternative sweet dishes available. Pavlova with light whipped cream, 99 % fat-free fromage frais or low fat yoghurt, topped with sliced bananas, strawberries, grapes, and passionfruit is a great option for restricting the amount of pudding you eat. Other suggestions are vanilla pannacotta covered with a strawberry salsa, or Christmas shaped wholemeal gingernut biscuits. Making these small substitutes can lower the GI of your dinner and help prevent weight gain.
Swap saving food gifts for sharing them with your friends
Sharing is caring at Christmas and sharing can also help to stop over-indulgences. If you received sweet treats as gifts share them with your guests and friends so that you have no naughty nibbles remaining on the next day to tempt you.