Health Nutrition
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It’s December, so the countdown is on for sparkling cocktail parties, festive office baskets and full-on family feasts.

Registered dietitian Sue Mah has tips on how to get through this season of holiday indulgence—and this doesn’t just mean watching your weight. Indulgence can come in many forms and can bring on loads of different side effects.

Give yourself permission to enjoy

Sue’s general rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule: 80 per cent of the time, choose the healthy options; 20 per cent of the time, enjoy your favourite indulgences in moderation. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays all fit into the 20 per cent of the time category.

Bring a veggie dish

Everyone could use a few more veggies and greens. Sue’s favourite veggie dish to bring to a party is arugula salad with beets, walnuts and goat cheese. It tastes great and looks festive.

Power on with protein

Eat protein foods at each meal. Protein helps to slow down digestion so you’ll feel full for longer and you’ll have sustained energy to keep up with the holiday hustle and bustle.

Use smaller plates and taller glasses

The bigger the plate, the more food you’ll pile on it. We tend to drink more from short wide glasses instead of tall ones. So use the short glasses for water and the tall glasses for cocktails and sweetened beverages.

Hold your drink in your dominant hand

This makes it trickier (and messier) to nibble with your non-dominant hand while you’re socializing. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than three drinks for women and four drinks for men on any single occasion. For each alcoholic drink, have a non-alcoholic one.

If you overdo it…

  • Take it easy the next day
  • Follow your hunger cues and have small snacks to keep blood sugar up instead of the typical three meals
  • Stay hydrated and get some physical activity (go for a walk, go to the gym, etc.)
  • There’s no need to do any “cleanses”