Feelgood Health

Holiday Eating! 5 Easy Ways to Trick Yourself Into Eating Less!

The holiday season has arrived and that means parties and get-togethers galore! It is also that time of the year when it’s so easy to be tempted by yummy foods and snacks even if you are trying to be good about your diet.

We tend to over-indulge on delicious canapes, Christmas trifle, braaivleis, takeaways, champagne and cocktails and are then rewarded with a growing waistline in the new year.

Here are our five easy ways to trick yourself into eating less this holiday season.

1. Eat before going to a party

A huge mistake that many people often make is to go to a party hungry. What usually happens is that when you’re starving, you eat whatever is on offer – and that is most likely, all the unhealthy options!

Make a point of eating a light meal before you go to the party to avoid binging when you get there.

High-protein or high fibre snacks are good choices because they will keep you full for longer. Try a boiled egg, cheese or peanut butter with whole-wheat toast, a grilled chicken breast with a green salad, plain yoghurt with an apple or banana or a handful of raw almonds.

Remember to be mindful when you eat. Learn to eat chew slowly and savour the flavours and taste as this will also help you to enjoy your food more and not eat too much. 
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2. Choose low-calorie foods and snacks

While party foods and snacks are usually high in calories, there are healthier options that you can have. Avoid the chips and creamy dips, vol au vents, bread and deep fried chicken and fish bites.

Choose fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, lean deli meats and chicken breast which are naturally low in calories.

A good idea is to start off eating low-cal, fibre-rich raw veggies which fills your tummy and gives you that feeling of fullness – so, head for the crudité platter and eat as much as you like!

If you love cheese, eat the low-fat varieties such as feta or goat’s cheese. Hard cheeses such as cheddar or gruyere have a higher fat content and it’s best to steer clear of them. However, if you can’t resist a few slices, then have it with fruit instead of bread or crackers to keep your calorie count down.

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3. Watch your portion size

When you are at a party, especially when there is a buffet table, take a side plate rather than a dinner plate to put food on. In this way, you will be able to monitor your portion size and not overfill your plate with food.

Research has shown that when you see a wide variety of foods, each with different tastes, smells, colours, shapes and textures, you tend to eat more whether you are hungry or not.

Limit the number of items that you will be adding to your plate – three or four for the most so that you don’t overeat.
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4. Fill up on water

Drinking water before you eat also fills up your tummy so that you are less likely to feel hungry. Over the holidays, many people enjoy having a range of alcoholic drinks such as champagne, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails and shooters but are often not aware how high in calories they are.

For instance, a bottle of Heineken contains a 150 calories, 88% grams carbs, 12% protein, 0% percent fat while a gin and tonic contains 143 calories, 14 grams carbs (13 grams sugar), 0 grams protein, and 0 grams fat.

A classic mojito contains 242 calories, 40 grams carbs (37 grams sugar), 0 grams protein, and 0 grams fat while a Long Island tea contains 454 calories, 62 grams carbs (61 grams sugar), 0 grams protein, and 0 grams fat.

A glass of dry white wine has 120 calories, 0 grams carbs, 0 grams protein and 0 grams fat while one serving of red wine has 102 calories, 5 grams carbs, 0 grams fat and 0 grams protein. As you can see drinking wine is the most diet-friendly alcoholic beverages by far! 

Top up on water before you have an alcoholic beverage or between alcoholic drinks to will help to fill you but also prevent you from having a major hangover the following day. One of the causes of that hangover feeling is dehydration – so drinking water during the evening will help to prevent that!
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5. Bring healthy dishes to parties

Take your own healthy dish to parties so that you are guaranteed that you will eating something low in calories and nutritious.

Nowadays, people bring and share food at get-togethers and braais, and if you’re afraid that there won’t be any healthy options, take a dish that won’t pack on the calories.

Good options include a seasonal salad, veggie platter and homemade hummus, sugar-free dessert or gluten-free bread.
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