Partner content: Staying on track – 4 tips for healthier eating this December
Supplied by Herbalife
Healthy eating during December … is that even possible? With so many temptations staring us in the face, how exactly do we find the strength to not give in? It all starts with mindful choices, so let’s get straight into it! We’ve got some smart tips to help you keep your healthy eating goals on track while still having fun.
Mind over matter
During December we let our guards down; we relax and just go with the flow, which is entirely understandable – especially considering everything that’s happened this year. But this doesn’t mean you should stop focusing on your overall health objectives.
To help you stay mindful of your eating choices – even while you’re relaxed – establish your health goals and make a conscious effort to achieve them every day. Write down your priorities and start a food diary to keep track of everything you eat and drink. The visual proof of what you put into your body will keep you accountable and motivated to continue reaching your goals.
Eat slowly, taking time to appreciate what you’re putting into your body. If you struggle with this, try cutting food into smaller pieces, taking smaller portions, chewing properly, and putting your fork down between each bite. That way, you give your mind a chance to register the “full” signals from your body, making you less likely to overeat.
It’s a trap!
What type of foods can you simply not pass up? Whether we’re planning a holiday away or a relaxing time at home, we all have triggers that can become overwhelming when we let ourselves give in to temptation. Over December, these food traps can include choosing convenience food while travelling, eating out more often, more opportunities for snacking before meals, and irresistible seasonal treats.
Our advice: acknowledge these food traps and counter them in a healthy way. Travelling? Make sure you plan ahead: pack some healthy, high-protein snacks and plenty of water.
Restaurants and food trucks shouldn’t cause you anxiety. Most places have healthy and tasty options to help you stick to your goals. Grilled, lean proteins with a side salad hit the spot without compromising on flavour. Instead of creamy dressings, choose vinaigrettes.
Time to host
Social gatherings are always top of the agenda over December, and they’re typically one of the most common places to indulge if you’re not careful.
If everyone’s coming to your house, a great way to avoid over-indulging is creating a snack-free space for your guests to mingle. In true braai fashion, we love displaying an array of snacks prior to the main meal, but these can pack a kilojoule punch. So, set up the food further away from where everyone’s sitting. Better yet, plan for healthy options as your guests arrive. Hummus, veggies, chicken satay skewers, and salmon on cucumber rounds are all delicious options if you’re looking to nibble on something while catching up with your loved ones.
And when it comes to the main event, make sure there are loads of salads as sides, and stick to fruit sorbet as a tasty dessert at the end. Your guests will love it!
Attending a party
This is where the real challenge comes in. What do you do when you don’t have a say in what is being served? Make sure you have a plan – if you’re prepared for temptation, it’ll be easier to avoid it.
Add these tips to your list. Swap your drink glass for a tall, skinny one. This can trick your mind into thinking that you’re keeping up with everyone else while actually drinking less. Drink water with your meal to help you feel full, and don’t mindlessly help yourself to food. Get a small plate, take a few of the options that you really want, and then eat them slowly.
Another way to keep on track is to eat a small, healthy meal beforehand. While it may seem counterintuitive to eat before a party, a light, healthy, fibre or protein-filled snack before you head out will help you avoid feeling starved when you arrive. No matter how strong your willpower is, when you are famished, you are more likely to derail your diet and reach for less healthy foods or eat portions that are too large.
But most importantly, don’t feel bad if you overindulge. December is a time to be enjoyed, and there’s no need to ruin it with guilt. Simply jump back on the wagon tomorrow, do a few more minutes of cardio, and stay motivated.