The summer holidays are a time for feasting – and this year more than most, Kiwis will be celebrating as many of us finally get to spend the season reunited with our loved ones across the country!
However, for the many Kiwis who are prioritising health and wellbeing over this period, it can be a minefield trying to balance wellness goals and festive treats.
It’s previously been reported that Kiwis can typically consume double their daily calories on Christmas day alone, and with all of the summer parties planned to make up for lost time, there is likely plenty of champagne to be flowing too!
Nicole Stride, accredited dietitian for WW (formerly Weight Watchers), has shared some of her top tips for tackling the season’s biggest wellness challenges and how to incorporate healthy habits without missing a single, delicious moment!
Preparing for the feast!
- Offset your indulgences by planning ahead: Whether it’s your work party or Christmas day itself, you know in advance that it’s going to be a time of indulgence. So rather than punishing yourself by trying to resist the canapé trays on the day, set yourself up for success in the week ahead by eating well. A good way to stay accountable during the week is by tracking your food – try writing it down or using an app like WW’s to make sure you don’t go over.
- Where to start at the dinner table: When building your plate, start with veggies as your base. Aim to fill half of your plate with a rainbow of non-starchy options like carrot, broccoli, mushrooms and eggplant for a healthy mix of nutrients. Eating veggies first is also a good way to ensure you’re not too full to finish them towards the end of the meal, as well as reducing the amount of other discretionary foods you’ll eat due to feeling satisfied before you get to them.
- Knowing when to stop: When there’s heaps of delicious food in front of us, sometimes we don’t know when to stop and it can take 20 minutes for your body to realise it’s full. So slow down. Make sure you chew every mouthful and take breaks in between – it’s a great excuse to catch up with the person next to you!
Balancing the booze:
- Look for the lighter option: Choosing low-alcohol wines and beers can make a difference kilojoule-wise. For example there is a 200kJ difference between a 150ml glass of low-alcohol red wine and a glass of full-strength red wine.
- Be mindful of your mixers: If you’re in the mood for something sweet to sip, avoid full sugar versions by opting for a low sugar alternative. Or why not try swapping out sugary mixers for equally delicious substitutes like kombucha, coconut water or an infused-tea. Seltzers also make for a low kilojoule, refreshing option in the warmer months, too!
- A little more goes a long way: A few minor tricks can make you think you’re drinking more than you are. Larger ice cubes melt slower in a short glass, while smaller cubes or crushed ice work better for tall drinks. Another tip – add a little soda water to make your drink last longer by turning it into a spritzer.