22 December 2016
Whether you are ready for it or not, the supermarket’s Christmas carols playlist, the tinsel lined office corridor and the jam packed December schedule has kicked well into gear and Christmas is right around the corner. It’s a time of year where we escape our daily routines in trade off for Christmas shopping, office gatherings, end of year farewells and Christmas get-togethers. There's food in abundance (and not always healthy) and it’s easy to overindulge in food and drinks in celebration of the festive season, the year that has passed and the year that is to come.
Here are 6 ways to avoid the post-holiday bulge:
1. Give non-food gifts
Avoid giving food gifts such as confectionary, cakes and puddings, snacks or chocolate. Even better if you can give gifts that will have the recipient and their family getting out and active together. Think backyard cricket, soccer matches, frisbee throwing or simply bubble blowing/catching.
2. Start the day right every day
Start your day, every day with a healthy, high fibre breakfast. A breakfast high in fibre will keep you feeling fuller for longer and will help you resist overeating at morning tea and lunch time. Include fruit and vegetables where you can especially at this time of year as Christmas platters and party food tends to have limited vegetables, making it almost impossible to reach your daily two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables if you are not making up for it elsewhere across the day.
3. Be the one to bring a salad
Have you been asked to bring a plate to share? You’re probably not going to be the only one looking out for a healthy dish when the time comes to dig in. Don’t be afraid to be the one to bring a salad. A creative, tasty salad dish could be the talk of the party. Check out Go for 2 & 5 for some creative ideas to try.
4. Rethink your drink
With the numerous work, social and family gatherings, you can potentially find yourself frequently surrounded by alcohol at events. Plan ahead and decide in advance which days you will drink and which you will skip. On those days when you do decide to drink, try to have no more than two standard drinks per day. Alcohol as well as soft drink contains a lot of energy (kilojoules) and offers no nutritional value. Cut down the kilojoules by using soda water as a mixer, or add fruit and mint to soda water as a refreshing alternative.
5. Be committed to keep moving
Include exercise every day across the holiday period. It can be easy to find yourself on the couch catching up on your favourite TV show over the break, but maintaining your routine of going to the gym, walking the dog or opting for more active ways to travel is important to balance out your food/energy intake. Remember weight management is about energy in = energy out.
6. Welcome the New Year with just one bubbly
You may be celebrating, but don’t send your judgement on holiday. Offer to be the designated driver, or better yet organise fun activities that will have people moving, laughing and socialising and that does not revolve around drinking alcohol. Your friends and family will thank you the following day.
Remember though, don’t dampen the festivities with too many restrictions. It’s all about balance. Going back for seconds of Nan’s Christmas pudding is okay as long as you have not overindulged every other day of the month. When the festive season is over, get back into your usual healthy eating and exercise routine as soon as you can and kick off 2017 the right way.
There is evidence that having a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers, including cancers of the lung, bowel, skin, breast, stomach, pancreas, kidney and more.
Reduce your risk by:
- having a healthy diet, high in plant based foods and limited amounts of processed and red meats;
- being physically active every day, aiming for 30-60 minutes of moderate – high intensity activity;
- maintaining a healthy weight range, for men that’s a waist measurement under 94cm and women under 80cm;
- limiting the amount of alcohol consumed to no more than 2 standard drinks on any day and including some alcohol free days;
- being smoke-free and avoiding second-hand smoke;
- protecting your skin when you are outdoors any time the UV is 3 and above by wearing a broad-brimmed hat, clothing that covers as much skin as possible and wraparound sunglasses, using SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum sunscreen and seeking shade wherever possible.
For more information visit www.cancersa.org.au or phone Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Cancer Council SA