Go for small helpings

Festive Diet

Go for small helpings

One of the dominant images of the Christmas season is food and drink in copious quantities. Think office parties, get-togethers with friends, lunches and dinners and cocktail evenings back to back. Bad for the waistline, hard on the liver and tough on the arteries.

 “The festive season does not have to be a perpetual cycle of binge eating and guilt tripping as there are sensible ways to keep your diet healthy during the season,” says nutritionist Sheela Patel.

“I know it’s easy to say ‘eat and drink in moderation’ and not easy to follow but there are little tips to keep in mind at this time of year. Use a small plate. It fills up quickly and your mind will consider it a full plate anyway. Take small helpings of different foods rather than overloading on one rich fatty item for a more balanced healthier meal. For every glass of alcohol or soft drink, have a glass of water.”

“It fills you up, has no calories and will help wash out the excesses. Help the hostess clear the table as soon as everyone finishes eating rather than picking at left-overs. Make your own mixed drinks with real fruit juice instead of canned drinks,” she advises.
Margaret Chawla carefully plans the ingredients that go into her festive cooking to keep her guests from overloading their systems.

“I serve salads rather than baked-in-fat vegetables. I also prefer using spices and herbs to flavour steamed veggies instead of butter or creamy sauces.”

“A spicy potato salad is much healthier than a mayonnaise based potato salad and just as tasty. Skip the  bacon bits and salami. Top baked potatoes with yogurt, instead of butter, and for salad dressings, try a mix of lemon juice, vinegar and fresh herbs
instead of creamy dressings. Use wholegrain breads for stuffing and  instead of candies or chocolates bowls for guests, keep out cherries or grapes,” she says.

Margaret also uses pita bread or vegetable strips to go with dips instead of chips and prefers to use fresh fruit in desserts instead of chocolate or meringue toppings.

All in all, savvy merrymakers say that if you want to survive the festive season unscathed, the trick is to watch portion sizes like a hawk. Skip the second helping or the extra spoonful, never pile the food on your plate high. Enjoy everything, say no to nothing –– but do it all in moderation.

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