Holiday Health

Managing your health and weight during the holiday season

For many, the holiday season means celebrating with their family, friends and community and enjoying plenty of food and drink. 

For those who are concerned about their health, it can also be a time of anxiety and stress as they worry about the weight gain they know is sure to follow their indulgences.

Here are a few easy tips that don’t involve any special type of dieting: 

1. Choose a smaller plate. Larger plates encourage you to take more food.

2. If eating out, divide your meal in half and ask for a “doggie bag”. Doing this at the beginning of your meal will reduce the amount of food consumed. It also has the added benefit of decreasing food waste and you’re all set for lunch the next day.

3. Eat slowly. If you do nothing else, do this. Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of putting your fork down between bites and chewing your food well include – better digestion, stress reduction, and allowing time for the hormone leptin to signal satiety, resulting in fewer calories consumed.

4. Fill up on veggies first and then make your way to the more calorie-dense foods on your plate. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds contain fibre, which can make you feel full faster, encourage normal bowel movements, and improve overall health.

5. If consuming alcohol, remember that it’s loaded with empty calories, so try alternating with water if you plan to have more than one drink. Asking for fizzy water with a slice of lemon in a wine or champagne glass helps you to reduce your calorie intake while still feeling part of the festivities. 

6. Last but not least, getting out for a walk between courses is a great way to burn a few calories. Try suggesting a short break between the main course and dessert. A change of environment and fresh air tends to lift our spirits and energises us. 

Sherry Fader is a certified nutrition educator, NE, Bauman College, Penngrove, California. She received her bachelor’s degree from UC Los Angeles, California. Her passion for studying nutrition came about when her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer (a completely preventable disease). She currently lives with her husband and dog Zoe in Portugal.


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