Five tips for a healthy festive meal

  • AFP Relaxnews
  • Updated: Dec 22, 2015 10:11 IST
It’s not always easy to find the right balance when faced with the celebratory meals at this time of year. (Shutterstock)

Christmas and New Year’s cleberations together make for a heavy meals - an overdose of fatty food and alcohol. But do not let that stop you from celebrations. It is totally possible to prepare for these occasions by taking a few simple steps.

How to have fun without depriving yourself while remaining on form and full of energy? It’s not always easy to find the right balance when faced with the celebratory meals at this time of year. Prevention is better than cure. Here are five tips to stop you from falling into the trap of excess.

Read: Being lean and unfit is the best

1. Do some sport in the morning


As you’ll be having a copious meal in the evening, you need to think about preparing early on in the day by doing some sport which will increase your energy expenditure for the day. The nutrients will be used for your body’s recovery rather than being stored as fat.

2. Eat lots of vegetables at lunch


The day of the celebratory meal, eat plenty of vegetables at midday to prevent the acidity that could result from the high-protein meal later on. It will also balance your needs for the day if you can’t eat any in the evening.

3. Don’t come to dinner starving


It’s important not to arrive at the table with an empty stomach. Before leaving, you can eat a piece of fruit accompanied by a cup of green tea. This will fill up your stomach and prevent hunger pangs. As a result, you’ll avoid falling into the trap of taking an aperitif with high-fat salty crackers.

Read: Tips to encourage kids to eat fruits

4. Before and during the meal


Before you sit down at the table, drink 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil to prevent fermentation in the digestive tract. Drink water to avoid the dehydration caused by alcohol, and breathe. We often start to eat quickly in a purely emotional way. A few deep breaths will alleviate stress and make it easier to eat slowly.

During the meal, take the same wine all the way through to avoid the damage caused by mixing, and don’t keep topping up your glass.

5. Create a festive, but light meal


If you’re doing the inviting, take the opportunity to replace fatty poultry with fish; cream and butter with herbs and spices; cake with a light fruit-based dessert; and chocolates with dried fruit, which are rich but contain fewer calories. As the meal is already heavy, opt for tea rather than mulled wine.

If you’re invited to a festive meal, taste everything but don’t have second helpings.

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