For some, the excitement of festive season can be overridden by the stress of overindulging. Whether it’s food intolerances, trending diets going around or specific food-choices, anxiety around what you will or will not eat should not become a controlling factor to avoiding Christmas festivities.
There’s no doubt Christmas and eating come hand-in-hand and Sunshine Coast based nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara suggests, “Rather than approaching the festive season with the mindset that you will over indulge, make the decision to change habits before it starts.”
Here are five ways to eat stress-free and guilt-free this Christmas:
- Be Aware of Your Choices
As well as food indulging, it’s likely there will also be some alcohol indulging too (it’s been a long year, you deserve it)! It’s recommended to match every alcoholic drink with a glass of water and is important to have some food in your stomach before drinking. If you’re wanting to avoid that nasty hangover, try to choose cleaner alcoholic drinks that have little to no sugar, such as a vodka lime soda or a gin and tonic.
- Think Before You Eat
There will be a wide variety of foods to choose from, which can become overwhelming if you’re food conscious. If you’re worried about upsetting your gut or just wanting to have a cleaner meal, aim to fill your plate with whole foods like vegetables/salads, some protein (it’s advised to stick to one protein and not mix them – just like your alcohol!) and a carbohydrate source such as starchy vegetables. Remember that Christmas season is only once a year and maybe it’s time to let your hair down after dieting all year round.
- For the Host – Create an Easy Menu Plan
If it’s your turn to host the annual Christmas lunch, don’t become overwhelmed with trying to make the fanciest dishes and trying to suit everyone’s dietary needs. Stick to the basics, such as some fresh salads, roasted vegetables and different proteins – such as a roast pork or fresh seafood. You can even ask your guests to bring a plate of food because in that way, they have each brought something they will enjoy themselves!
- Pre-Make and Bake Now
To reduce stress, some of the foods you choose to prepare can be done the day before. This can be cutting and peeling vegetables you want to roast or use in salads, stuffing if you’re choosing to have chicken or turkey, making rum balls, salad dressings or gravy and mince pies can be frozen for days before!
- Eating Seasonally
Base your meals around the foods that are currently in season. This will take the stress away from hunting down certain produce that isn’t in season, will mean the seasonal produce you do choose will be of the highest quality and more nutritious and by sticking to seasonal foods, it will even reduce the costs of the food preparation.
Below are seven of Cyndi’s recipes you can re-create for Christmas Day: