A dietitian’s guide to surviving the silly season

Dec 15, 2019

Follow the tips below to keep your festive season eating habits in check – because why should you let what happens between Christmas & New Year undo everything you did between New Year & Christmas.

Christmas brownie

Be Snack Savvy

Enjoy the following snacks as a delicious low-kilojoule options:

  • High fibre crackers with humus, cottage cheese or peanut butter.
  • Roasted Chickpeas: Rinse tinned chickpeas, toss in olive oil and seasoning (chili flakes/garlic/cumin/cinnamon) & roast for 45 minutes.
  • Stove popped popcorn.
  • Ice lollies made with a sugar free concentrate such as Brookes Low Cal or Slimsy.
  • Home-made Froyo: 100ml Tubs flavoured yoghurt placed into the freezer

Add Weight to your plate

  • Add vegetables to your breakfast: roast mushrooms with garlic & thyme, and roast rosa tomatoes with balsamic vinegar & olive oil.
  • Snack on raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, cauliflower dipped in hummus, tzatziki or flavoured cottage cheese.
  • Buy ready prepped salad & vegetables to save time in the kitchen.

Control the Meals you Can

  • Lunch & supper tend to be heavier meals, especially during the festive season – compromise with your kilojoules to counteract these & keep breakfast light such as fruit & yoghurt, smoothies, or poached egg & wilted spinach, cooked mushrooms & tomatoes.
  • Offer to bring a salad or snack platter (crudite veg, olives, popcorn, lean biltong and low fat dips) when eating at others to ensure there will be healthy options available to you.
  • Have a pre-function snack to stop over-eating on high kilojoule snack options offered by hosts.

Keep the basics going…

  • Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water per day.
  • Make at least 1/2 your plate veg/salad.
  • Give preference to lean proteins (legumes, fish & chicken), and be sure to include protein in every meal.
  • Give preference to whole-grain unrefined carbs such as corn, baby potatoes with skin on, sweet potatoes, quinoa, spelt, brown rice etc.
  • SNACK between meals to avoid extreme hunger or overeating at meal times.
  • Keep holiday treats in an opaque container, in a cupboard, not at eye level, to avoid unconcious eating.

 Rethink your Drink

  • 1 small glass (150ml) White/Red Wine = 585kJ
  • Wine Spritzer = 300kJ
  • Regular beer = 600kJ
  • Lite Beer = 450kJ
  • Beer Shandy (with 1/2 Lite Beer & 1/2 Sprite Zero) = 225kJ
  • Regular Gin (Double) & Tonic = 1100kJ
  • Gin (Single) & Sugar-free tonic = 316kJ
  • Single Spirit with sugar free mixer = 316kJ

 As a reference, 2 slices of bread is equal to 540 kJ.

Happy holidays!

Looking for a healthy accompaniment to your next braai? Try out one of these delicious salad recipes:

Article provided by the dietitians at Nutritional Solutions – one of the largest dietetic practices in South Africa.


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