Healthy eating over the holidays


The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes all the festivities – from family gatherings to workplace celebrations and vacations – a truly joyous and rewarding time of year!  But if you have been working hard to keep up your healthy lifestyle, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. Not only does your schedule fill up with events, impacting on your healthy eating routine, but it’s very challenging to follow a healthy diet in between all the traditional festive favourites! With a few small steps, you can keep a healthy balance in your lifestyle while still enjoying the celebration! 

• Try to maintain your regular eating habits wherever you can. When you aren’t attending a function or celebration, follow your normal eating plan. Spread your meals evenly across the day, and don’t skip a meal in anticipation of a large lunch or dinner. Skipping meals will leave you hungry and more likely to overindulge when you arrive at a restaurant or party.

• Plan your portions for every meal using the balanced plate model – ½ your plate filled with veg, only ¼ protein and only ¼ starches.  

• Contribute to the dinner spread by offering to bring a side dish to the party. Make something you know to be on the healthier side, like a vegetable crudité starter, homemade vegetables crisps, a side salad or fruit kebabs for dessert.

• Eat your meals mindfully, taking time to enjoy and savour your holiday favourites. You’re likely to have a smaller serving and enjoy meal time even more than usual. 

• If you are going to enjoy a helping of dessert, plan ahead and keep your portions small. Cut back on the starch portion in your main meal and fill up with plenty of non-starchy vegetables and salad instead.

• Also, keep up your activity levels over the holidays!

• Stick to your fitness routine as much as possible over the festive season, and set time aside to be active.

• Remember that every bit counts, so even if you cannot get to the gym for your usual 30 minutes, three shorter 10-minute bursts of physical activity throughout the day still add up to a healthier you!

• Wear a fitness tracking device to track how many steps you have walked each day. This will motivate you to get moving on your holiday excursions.

• Limit screen time for the whole family. When you do watch TV, try to move around and “multitask” as you watch or listen. 

• Get involved in games with your kids – it can burn quite a lot of energy following your little ones around for hide-and-seek, last-touch or garden cricket.

• Go for a light walk after a big lunch. Rope your relatives in for catch-up time!

• Spend more time relaxing and de-stressing outdoors – and you may notice your levels of physical activity going up without you even realising it.

Did you know?  
Pick n Pay employs the services of a registered dietitian, Leanne Kiezer, to provide free nutrition advice to the public. Contact Leanne via the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za to start your nutrition conversation.  

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