Johannesburg – The festive holidays are often all about indulgence – from eating more than your stomach can handle to drinking too much and traveling long distances.
To help you avoid overindulging, City Press has put together some tips to help survive the silly season.
Christmas is one of the days on which people over-cater, says dietician Dr Lynn Odendaal. “Cooking masses of food means overeating and overeating leads to weight gain and gives rise to lifestyle diseases.”
Odendaal says a Christmas lunch or dinner doesn’t have to be “a royal feast” where there is an abundance of everything. “A balanced meal that contains a starch, protein, plenty of vegetables and low-sugar desserts can be just as good, as well as filling,” she says.
She also cautions against having a variety of the same food groups, especially starchy foods, which are high in carbohydrates.
“If you must have starch, limit your choice to two and watch your portion size. Since it’s Christmas and everybody is in the mood to eat just about anything, a small portion of rice and two or three small roast potatoes wouldn’t be bad,” Odendaal says.
Food consultant Heleen Meyer shares Odendaal’s sentiments, saying that although carbohydrates are our main source of energy, “eating too much of them can cause weight gain and lifestyle diseases”.
She says it is essential that we manage and control the portions of food we eat. She recommends dividing the food into starches, vegetables, proteins and fats. “Non-starchy vegetables or salad should fill about half of the plate and meat and starch should be about the size of your fist – or take up one quarter of the plate.”
If you plan to have a meal that will include something sweet, remember to have it after the main meal. If the dessert is high in carbs, you need to consider having a no-carb or low carb main meal, Meyer says.