Fill Me In
Ah, Christmas. The season of joy, gifting, and most importantly, feasting. It’s the last month of the year and it seems, also the last of our determination to stay true to our New Year’s resolutions of “getting fit”.
Christmas indulgence doesn’t have to be unhealthy though. It’s natural to want to let loose a little during the year-end festivities, but you can still do it in a calibrated manner so as to not throw a huge spanner in the works!
We checked in with dietician and coach, Kong Pun Pun, from HealthifyMe as she shares some wise words of wisdom for how to still maintain a healthy diet during the Christmas holidays!
Dieting during a Christmas feast
If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s just one simple rule — incurring a caloric deficit. Unfortunately, Christmas dinners don’t tend to skim on the calories, but you can still enjoy the feast without compromising your diet if you practice good portion control!
To help you out, Pun Pun has graciously helped to compile a list of commonly eaten Christmas foods and the recommended portion size you should have to keep your diets on track. This way, you can still enjoy all the variety that Christmas has to offer without piling on the calories — a win-win!
Eating healthy during Christmas
As much as we love eating our fill during Christmas, we’re sure that none of us particularly enjoy the bloating sensation after a hearty Christmas meal. Thus, we sought Pun Pun’s advice on how you can best enjoy your meals without feeling stuffed to the brim after!
Portion control is key
To do so, Pun Pun suggests using a plate to portion out your food consumption. For instance, laying out your roasted turkey (proteins), vegetables (fibres) and mashed potatoes (carbohydrates) on a plate before consumption will help you eyeball the portions to ensure you’re not eating too much at a time.
To determine the appropriate serving size of each food item, do read the labels and recommended servings usually included in recipes or food labels!
Do also minimise distractions during meals and chew slowly as this allows your brain time to signal when you’ve had enough food, thus preventing overeating.
Don’t skip meals
A common myth is that skipping meals ahead of a big Christmas feast will allow you to reduce the number of calories consumed. However, skipping meals can actually be counterproductive! Overloading your stomach after going hungry for a full day is not recommended. Skipping meals signals for your body to go into starvation mode, which depresses your metabolism and increases fat storage, making dieting less effective.
It may also result in an increased propensity for binge eating later in the day, which would defeat the intention to reduce calorie intake to begin with.
Modify your Christmas meal
Meal modifications are an easy way to make festive foods healthier for a guilt-free Christmas. For instance, swap out butter for oil in your cookie recipe to reduce the saturated fat content in it. Reducing the amount of sugar and salt in different food items is also highly recommended.
For dessert, opt for fruits instead of jellies or candy to still satiate your sweet tooth while taking in an assortment of nutrients and vitamins!
Have a balanced meal
As tempting as it is, avoid overloading on carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, and pasta. Instead, try to consume more fibres and proteins which will make you feel full without adding on too many calories.
Drink in moderation
Christmas is all about having a good time, but there’s no point in having a great time if you’re not going to remember any of it the next day.
Keep track of how much alcohol you’re drinking and try to avoid mixing different types of spirits to avoid getting drunk. To pace yourself, Pun Pun suggests having a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink to stay hydrated.
Go forth and be merry
Keep these tips in mind to have a jolly Christmas dinner this festive season while staying on track of your fitness goals.
From the team here at TheHomeGround Asia, have a Merry Christmas!
Special thanks to Kong Pun Pun for her contributions to this article. Pun Pun is a dietician and coach from HealthifyMe. She guides and advises clients on weight loss, addressing their medical concerns and providing diet recommendations to cater to their health and lifestyle needs.