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As we dive into the heart of the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to share some great tips on maintaining wellness and weight during this festive period. While December is synonymous with joy and celebration, it can also present challenges to our usual health routines. Fear not, though as the following are some practical, easy-to-implement strategies.

10 Tips to maintain wellness and weight during this festive period

1. Plan your meals

The holiday season can get hectic, and it’s easy to fall off the healthy eating wagon. To avoid this, stock your freezer with nutritious, pre-prepared meals. Think hearty vegetable stews, lean protein casseroles, and fibre-rich soups. This way, you’ll always have a healthy option on hand, evenon your busiest days.

2. Food before festive drinks

Before raising a glass of your favourite festive drink, ensure you’ve had a substantial meal. Eating foods high in protein and fibre before drinking alcohol slows its absorption, softens its impact, and helps maintain blood sugar levels. Plus, you’re less likely to snack on high-calorie treats later.

3. Hydration is Key

Staying hydrated is your secret weapon against overindulgence and hangover woes. Water not only helps in flushing out toxins but also keeps false hunger pangs at bay. Alternate your festive drinks withwater to keep your hydration levels optimal.

4. The rule of moderation

Embrace the 80:20 rule—eat healthily 80% of the time and allow yourself some indulgences for the remaining 20%. This approach ensures you enjoy the season’s treats without overdoing it. You can also flex it a little during this season and make it 70:30.

5. Wise drink choices

When it comes to alcohol, the clearer, the better. Light-colored drinks like white wine, vodka, or gin typically have fewer congeners, reducing the risk of severe hangovers. Also, light-coloured drinks normally contain less calories. Opt for water or sparkling water between alcoholic drinks, be aware of the empty calories in sugary beverages as well as mixers and always enjoy your favourite drinks in moderation – Remember, moderation is key!

6. Navigate parties wisely

At parties, a variety of food options can lead to overeating. Be mindful of your choices and try not to overfill your plate. Enjoy the flavours, but keep portions in check. During dinners, receptions or buffets use smaller plates as they create the illusion of a full meal. When at a buffet, survey the buffet before grabbing a plate, avoid second helpings and choose a variety of foods including veggies, proteins, and carbs.

7. Rest and Recharge

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Adequate rest is essential for stress management and maintaining a strong immune system, helping you enjoy the festive season to its fullest.

8. Dismiss hangover myths

The best hangover cure? Prevention and hydration. Stick to water and balanced meals to recover effectively.

9. Take time to breathe

Incorporate stress-relief practices like meditation or deep breathing into your routine. A calm mind aids in making better food and drink choices.

10. Flexibility in diet

Being flexible with your diet allows for occasional treats without derailing your health goals. Remember, it’s all about balance!

Here are some examples of meals you can prepare for convenience during this hectic time of year

Certainly! Here are some examples of nutritious, freezer-friendly meals that you can prepare in advance for the holiday season:

Vegetable and Bean Chili: A hearty chili packed with various beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and corn. It’s rich in protein and fiber and can be easily reheated.

Chicken or Turkey Casserole: Combine cooked chicken or turkey with vegetables, a creamy sauce, and whole-grain pasta or rice. It’s a comforting and balanced meal.

Lentil Soup: A wholesome soup made with lentils, carrots, celery, and onions, seasoned with herbs. Lentil soup is filling, nutritious, and freezes well.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce: Make a batch of lean turkey or beef meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce. They’re great for adding to pasta or making a meatball sandwich.

Vegetable Lasagna: Layer whole-wheat lasagna noodles with a mix of vegetables, ricotta cheese, and marinara sauce. It’s a tasty way to include more veggies in your diet.

Beef or Vegetable Stew: A classic stew with beef chunks or a variety of root vegetables, cooked in a rich, flavorful broth. Stew is even better after reheating.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts: Stuff chicken breasts with a mixture of spinach and cheese, bake, and freeze. They’re easy to thaw and cook for a quick, protein-rich meal.

Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos: Wrap a mix of quinoa, black beans, cheese, and vegetables in whole-grain tortillas. These burritos can be individually wrapped for easy single servings.

Curried Chickpea and Vegetable Curry: A flavourful curry with chickpeas, cauliflower, and other vegetables, perfect to serve over rice.

Baked Salmon Fillets: Bake salmon fillets with lemon and herbs, then freeze. They can be quickly reheated for a healthy and delicious meal.

When preparing these meals, remember to cool them completely before freezing and store them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Labelling each dish with the date and contents will help you keep track of what you have and ensure optimal freshness.

How to deal with plenty of events

Managing multiple events in a week while trying to maintain or manage your weight can be challenging, but with some planning and mindful strategies, it’s possible to strike a balance between enjoying social occasions and sticking to your health goals. Here are other tips you may implement apart from the above.

Plan Ahead

Check your schedule for the week and identify which events you’ll be attending. Also, prioritise the events that matter most to you, and consider skipping or rescheduling less important ones.

Set Realistic Goals

Understand that you may not be able to stick to your strict diet at every event and set realistic goals for each event. For example, if you’re going out three times in a row and one of the events is a dinner where you may order your own food, choose wisely to make up for the other events where you may not have so much say in the food available. During this time it’s also important to set realistic goals in terms of weight, such as maintaining your current weight or not gaining more than a certain amount.

Stay Hydrated

Drink water throughout all events and perhaps skip alcohol altogether on one to two occasions for example if you have plenty of occasions during the week.

Be Mindful and Slow Down

Pay attention to what you’re eating and savour each bite. Eat slowly, and engage in conversations to give your body time to register fullness.

Avoid Mindless Snacking

Socializing near the food table can lead to mindless munching. Choose a spot away from the food and if you tend to snack when nervous or anxious, have a strategy to manage stress without resorting to food.

Stay Active

Continue with your regular exercise routine during the week to help balance the extra calories from events. If time is tight, incorporate short, high-intensity workouts or walks into your day.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and if you’re not hungry, it’s okay to decline food or take small portions.

Track Your Progress

Keep a food diary to track your meals and snacks during event-heavy weeks, reflect on your choices and learn from your experiences.

Forgive Yourself

Remember that occasional deviations from your plan are normal so don’t be too hard on yourself if you indulge a bit at an event. Focus on getting back on track afterward.

Plan Post-Event Recovery

After an event-heavy week, prioritize healthy meals and exercise to reset your routine.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you find it challenging to maintain your weight despite your best efforts, consider seeking professional advice.

Always keep in mind that balance and moderation are key when managing multiple events in a week while trying to maintain your weight. Enjoy the social aspects of these events while making conscious choices to support your health goals.

Warm wishes for a beautiful season

Wishing you and your dear ones a nourishing Christmas season, overflowing with wellness, happiness, and prosperity. May this festive time be a reminder to prioritize healthful choices and mindful eating, ensuring a balance that supports your well-being. Here’s to savouring the joy of the season while nurturing your bodies for a healthier, happier, and more prosperous future.

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