Christmas diet plan: 5 tips to remember


Christmas diet plan: 5 tips to remember

How to avoid overeating

Worried you'll gain weight over Christmas? You can't avoid the holiday season, but you can resist the menu. Janella Purcell explains how mindful eating can curb cravings amid a jam-packed events calendar.

It’s that dread-worthy time of year again (the dread part not fitting into your loose drawstring pants come February). We all enjoy spending quality time with our loved ones, but with the Christmas season comes more food and alcohol, and less sleep and exercise.

How about this for an idea? Let’s not binge on foods we wouldn’t normally eat so much of, especially in one sitting. By eating in moderation throughout the year, with just a little treat here and there, you can ensure the new year brings with it the same person you were in November.

You’re less inclined to eat badly when your body is in a healthy, alkaline state. If you’re tending toward an acidic pH (under seven) due to regularly eating takeaway or fast food filled with trans-fats, poor quality animal protein, palm oil, white sugar and refined grains and dairy, you’re more likely to continually crave them. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that will make you feel like rubbish physically, mentally and emotionally.

1. Continue to exercise

A good way to break this detrimental habit is to include some regular exercise in your life, and make sure it stays there. Herbal medicine is another wonderful way to help break the chain of bloating, self-loathing and destruction. My personal favourites are the happy herb, magnolia; the NZ herb, kawkawa, to help reduce your appetite and curb cravings; gymnema to reduce sugar and carb cravings; skullcap and St. Johns wort for anxiety and sadness; and some strong adrenal herbs to have you feeling revitalised.

2. Practise mindful eating

Overeating is often a sign you’re ‘stuffing things down’. It works momentarily, but that’s only because you’re so full with undigested food that you can’t manage to think past this immediate feeling. Christmas is not the time to address suppressed emotional issues; it’s a time to let go of habits that aren’t working for you. Instead of starting a ‘starvation diet’ in February, start practising mindful eating right now.

3. Never skip breakfast

Eat well in the morning, followed by lunch and a light dinner. If you exercise a lot or you like to snack, then snack – but choose whole food snacks like nuts, hummus with seed crackers, dark chocolate bliss balls or yoghurt with hemp and chia seeds.

If you’re going out to a Christmas party on an empty stomach, you’re quite likely to overeat and drink. It’s the same as travelling without taking your own food – a disaster if you’re not up for a squashy burger and chips.

4. Eat before the Christmas party

Before you get to the party, have a snack like a smoothie made from coconut milk, Lifestream’s Essential Greens and B-Complex Powder, plus some chia, hemp or flax seeds, maca powder or raw cacao powder. Add some fruit such as paw paw, lychees or mango to satiate your sweet tooth and if you’re still at risk of bingeing, add a splash of maple or rice syrup. This smoothie will keep you full and is particularly great in the afternoon before slipping your party frock on. You’ll be so satisfied that those party pies or duck pancakes will not speak their usual whispers of seduction.

5. Choose healthier dishes

If you’re in charge of the Christmas Day menu, take advantage and decide exactly what goes on it. Include things like Polenta Pizza, Broccoli and Mint Pesto, or Hummus with my All Seed Crackers or a gorgeous antipasto platter with colourful and tasty dips and vegies.

For the main meal, make a buffet of fresh and barbecued seafood with great salads dressed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and fresh herbs, and gorgeous, festive salads made from a base of quinoa, barley, spelt grains and/or legumes and loads of vegies, nuts and seeds and herbs.

Dessert may be something chilled, using yoghurt and quark instead of cream, like the Middle Eastern favourite – Sikarni. To finish off this perfect meal, we will naturally need some chocolate. Try my Chocolate and Orange Mousse recipe. Buy organic wine or make cocktails from summer fruit, maple or rice syrup, clean vodka and fresh herbs.

Once you realise that heading out to a party or Christmas lunch feeling even a tiny bit hungry is not helping you in your quest to eat well and maintain your wellbeing, you’re already half-way there. Wouldn’t you rather be friends with your food rather than resenting its existence?

Here’s to a healthy, joyful and delicious Christmas filled with love and togetherness. Not just for 2014 but also for the many to follow, wearing the same jeans.

NEXT: 5 ways to beat emotional eating>>

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.