Buffets, nibbles, the large ‘entertaining’ plates for the Christmas meal, glasses of seasonal cheer, chocolates, mince pies, Christmas pudding, trifle, Christmas cake. Stop feeling hungry, or panicking, here’s a plan.
1. Skip It
I don’t mean fast and miss a meal. I mean are there one or two parties you don’t really fancy. Some people find it easier to avoid the temptation altogether and not go.
Get the menu in advance if you are eating out for a set meal, so you can decide before the occasion takes over. Google the restaurant to look up the menu choices, and ask the hosts what they are planning and can you bring something.
3. Little White Lie
Anyone done this? I remember saying I was taking antibiotics for an easy excuse to not drink when I was newly pregnant. Or you could be the driver that day. Another one is a ‘dietary restriction’ that means you’ll get healthier choices, you’re vegetarian, or avoiding dairy or wheat.
Decide what you are going to have and what you are going to say when you are offered extra. Remind yourself on the way to the event. Maybe you’ll have 3 canapés, 10 crisps, 1 glass of fizz and one glass of wine, or skip something you know you’ll be offered. Hear yourself say ‘no thanks’ and tell someone to remind you.
5. Eat beforehand
Have a protein-based snack or meal before you go, like a (hard-) boiled egg, some cold roast chicken, a few oatcakes with smoked salmon. It will be easier to stick to your plan if you aren’t starving when you arrive.
6. Bring Your Own
Healthy snacks. Take roasted nuts, a bar of very dark chocolate, marinated olives, a homemade soup, celery grapes and apple to go with cheese instead of crackers. That way you know there’s a healthier option.
7. Clever choices
Choose the soup, the salad, the fruit starter. Or skip the starter altogether if you really want dessert. Or miss dessert and go straight to coffee. Waive the bread basket, and watch the portion size of starchy carbohydrates. Do you really need Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes with turkey? Or mash and roast potatoes? But pile the vegetables high and try and fill 1/3 or half of your plate with them.
Alcohol in small amounts can be good for health, but I mean 1-2 single measures, or 1-2 of those tiny wine glasses (that look respectably full with 125ml). And you’ve heard it before but follow each glass of alcohol with a same size glass of water. If you are faced with a buffet decide you’ll make one trip up and seat yourself far away from the food. Or use a dessert plate for your main course.
9. Get Up
Even standing up counts. Offer to help in the kitchen, fetch something from the corner shop, walk the dog, organise an active game for the kids (musical bumps? Hide and seek?). Take a brisk walk (even just 10 mins) after the big meal will make a difference to how you feel and your health, before you slump on the sofa.