Overindulged over Christmas and the New Year? Us too. Here are our tips to get back on track
Christmas and the New Year are almost unavoidably indulgent, a time for catching up with friends and family, enjoying time off from work and away from usual routines.
In Australia it’s also summer, which brings with it an extended party season of drinks, dinners and barbeques. It’s hard to stick to your usual healthy way of eating when all this is going on.
New Year is a time for resolutions and new starts. But you don’t have to go to extremes or punish yourself for the fun you had over the last month or so. A sensible return to your good habits is all that’s needed, and you won’t feel deprived.
Stick to three meals a day
Snacking, or inappropriate snacking, if often where the excess calories sneak into your diet. If you plan to have three reasonable meals a day you will feel satiated and won’t be rustling around in the pantry for a treat.
Satiety is the key here and if you can focus on protein this will help a lot. A couple of eggs done your favourite way with a piece of dense, good quality seeded bread will go a long way to keeping you full until lunch. Another good choice is Greek yogurt (not flavoured or sweetened) with a handful of berries. A bowl of oatmeal is also a great way to start the day but go easy (or omit) the maple syrup. A scattering of berries or some raisins cooked in with the oatmeal will give you the sweetness you need.
Lunch can be a challenge if buying it each day. If you can, bring your lunch from home. A healthy veggie soup is filling, and you can make up a big batch for the week. Good protein-based lunches like a tuna or chicken salad are quick to make and will keep you full. Add some canned cannellini beans and make a yogurt and lemon juice dressing to avoid adding oils or pre-made dressings to your salad.
Don’t eat too late and again focus on lean protein and fresh ingredients – fish, chicken, lean red meat, tofu, beans or lentils accompanied by your favourite veggies or salad. Swap a more indulgent dessert for a small fruit salad with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
This is where the hidden calories lurk so consider giving yourself a few weeks off alcohol or designate certain days of the week which are NOLO – drink no or low-alcohol drinks. There are lots of new ones in the market place (we stock them in all Hill Street stores) and as long as they are not high in sugar, are a good way to reframe how you socialise.
A chip here, a biscuit there … it adds up. Make a commitment for a period of a few weeks or a month, or ongoing, to avoid packaged and processed food and opt for a fresh alternative instead. This is easy in summer – a few berries, cherries or an apple will give you many more vitamins, anti-oxidants and fibre – and far fewer calories.
Living in Tasmania, it isn’t hard to find wonderful, locally grown fresh food, especially in summertime. Fill your trolley with the good stuff, and you can’t go far wrong.