I’ve just had a lovely email from one of my Gold Level Consultancy clients… the title was “Ahhhh, the Christmas Party Buffet!”
Some of her fears and concerns are so common when it comes to this time of year and the desire to lose weight so, she’s prompted me to write this Survival Guide for you all.
My plan is to help you enjoy the festive season yet come out the other side full of health and vitality. You may be able to avoid big portions and one or two desserts, but how can you negotiate the nibble and buffet assault course?
Let me guide you through the calorific minefield with some simple advice and tips…
Am I hungry?
Learn to recognise and acknowledge your true hunger and appetite. Don’t automatically head for the buffet because everyone else is! Could you actually be thirsty (for hydration not Prosecco! J)? Staying well hydrated not only helps you to know if you’re hungry but is incredibly important with all that alcohol around. So keep topped up with water throughout the day.
Feast on festive nibbles
Whether it’s at the office, our socialising or even in our own homes, this time of year brings out the most delicious looking nibbles and sharing platters. You know what to avoid – sugar loaded, dairy filled deliciousness will not help you feel awesome tomorrow! But what can you grab instead? Luckily some of our favourite traditional Christmas treats are incredibly good for you.
Nuts, (but avoid the salted ones), rich in energy and nutrients, like omega 3, resveratol, vitamin E and B. Figs are great at this time of year – this fibrous fruit contains something called tryptophan guaranteed to induce that afternoon nap! Dates contain an impressive list of essential nutrients and are rich in dietary fibre. Dried fruits retain all the benefits of their fresh counterparts. For a change from apricots and raisins try cranberries and goji berries.
Feast on fruit & veg
It’s a great time for seasonal fruit and veg, and those old favourites. Why not dig out that clementine, tangerine or satsuma from the bottom of your Christmas stocking – low in calories, high in vitamin C and potassium. Raw veg are great too, some celery and cucumber sticks are refreshing and hydrating -with dips like hummus, guacamole or salsa; avoid the creamy ones.
If you want to stockpile your plate, do it with fruit and vegetable based buffet items. Aim for a variety of colours and flavours. Vegetables are a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and you have to eat vast amounts to get fat on them.
Negotiating the Christmas buffet
Firstly, try not to feel obliged to attend every event you are invited to, if you really don’t want to go, don’t.. Then you can avoid the buffet temptations altogether and the next day you can feel incredibly grateful you DIDN’T take in thousands of calories just socialising!
Avoid going out when you’re hungry; you’ll be more inclined to overeat. Have some fruit, yoghurt, sandwich or cereal beforehand. Then the hunger pangs won’t take over when you get there! And when you do get there don’t stand by the food, choose your food and move away; you can come back if you are still genuinely hungry. Chatting and picking is a sure fire way to pig-out!
The best parties I find, are those where the company or entertainment is so good you don’t have time to eat! Choose these parties over any others!
How do I choose?
Tempting as that spread may look, don’t let it take you up another hole on your belt. Avoid foods from packets, and fried and fatty foods like sausages. Choose solid pieces of fish, chicken or turkey and remove the skin.Avoid processed meats that can be incredibly high in salt. Keep your eye out for salmon, tuna, smoked mackerel and prawns. But, once again, steer clear of the creamy sauces and definitely mayonnaise.
This is the hardest part for most. Start by sharing your dessert with someone else, you’ll eat less and maybe make a friend! Christmas pudding isn’t to everyone’s taste yet with its rich concoction of dried fruits such as raisins, currants and sultanas it packs an anti-oxidant punch – just have a small portion and steer clear of the brandy butter or clotted cream! If you’ve got the will power, head for the fruit salad and, if its your party – make it extra special by adding some tropical fruits such as papaya and mango, topped with a dairy-free cream.
Let me know how you get on! And whatever happens, don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow’s a fresh day, fresh perspective, better results. YOU CAN DO THIS!