Reframe your approach to food and drink this festive season to feel empowered to enjoy yourself without compromising on your health goals.

Excessive eating or drinking on one occasion is not going to send your health on a downwards spiral but repeated episodes of excessive eating and drinking throughout this time of the year, may have an undesirable impact.

Here are our 7 simple tips to help you take care of yourself:

1. Be prepared

Plan your approach to invites and events ahead of time. Sit down with your invites and plan the ones you would like to ‘indulge’ in and the ones where you will make ‘smart choices’. This can help to relieve stress and guilt and increase your mindfulness around food.

2. Arrive at events and functions satisfied

Often when we arrive hungry to social events, we are at risk of making poor food choices in relation to the type and quantity of the foods we choose to eat. Eating a small meal or snack before you go can take the edge off your hunger, helping you to make better decisions.

3. Hydrate on arrival

It’s often the first drink that we drink the fastest, due to thirst. Instead, quench your thirst on arrival with water, sparkling mineral water or soda water. Pace yourself when moving onto alcoholic options by drinking water in between or swapping every second drink for a non-alcoholic drink.

4. Step away from the food platters and grazing boards

Position yourself away from the celebrative spread. By doing this, the temptation of overindulging often subsides, allowing you to reduce the mindless eating. As the old saying goes, ‘out of sight out of mind’, take the pressure off and enjoy socialising rather than being fixated on the food.

Use a napkin or a small plate to portion out and visualise the amount you wish to eat.

5. Bring a dish to share

Offer to bring a dish that you will enjoy. When reaching out to taste and try, aim to fill ½ our plate with salads and vegetables, a ¼ with a source of protein such as seafood, meat, poultry, tofu etc. and the remainder being filled with carbohydrates such as potato, seedy and grainy breads or pasta.

6. Keep a regular routine and keep on moving

Be consistent with your healthy habits as you move into the new year. Continue your daily exercise routine. It will help to manage stress and keep your health in check.

7. Get enough sleep

Stick to your usual sleep routine, this is important to maintain the pace of the festive season as we move towards the new year. Sleep plays a role in restoring our mind, body, and soul, replenish your energy and reduce your stress by aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Being consistent is key to maintain good health.

At the end of the day, remember to give yourself permission to eat and drink the array of food and drinks that are available but take the time to enjoy them. Indulging over the festive season is an important part of our food culture which should be enjoyed guilt-free. But not every social occasion has to end with us feeling so full that we can’t move.

Eat in moderation, continue to move, and remember, to be mindful. Take the stress out of the new year by instilling these simple 7 tips to maintain good health. This silly season, be present with friends and family and allow yourself to enjoy the little things.

Cowritten with Intern Janette Tyssen

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