by ANTARA BOSE
The festive season is here! And so are the endless temptations that take the form of freshly-baked gingerbreads, irresistible mince pies, and the must-have Christmas cakes. But watching your weight doesn’t mean you have to turn away from the all the goodies. Here are 10 practical things you can actually do to enjoy the season and still avoid piling on the pounds.
1. Handle potlucks smartly
There’s an unsaid competition at potlucks and the festive season gets everyone to put their best culinary skills forward. That generally results in creamier pasta, sweeter apple-pies, and frothier eggnogs. The thing with potlucks is that you have little (or no) control over what everyone is bringing. But there’s a way around it, and it doesn’t involve you starving. It’s easier if you’re hosting the potluck; simply theme it ‘healthy’. If, however, you’ve been invited for one, do your part by taking a healthy dish that you can indulge in.
Sampling is when you try a little bit of something, not devour a bowl full of it in the process. Whether you’re experimenting some new recipes for the festive season or being a food-taster at a friend’s, make sure you don’t end up helping yourself to a portion every time you ‘try some’.
3. Know your food
Be wary of what you put in your mouth. Casually ask your hosts how they made that scrumptious-looking dish. They’ll be happy to boast about their culinary skills, and you’ll get a cue of what’s in it. If you’re really serious about watching your weight, the knowledge of a quarter pound of butter in it should get you to eat a smaller portion.
4. Keep Tupperware at hand
Along with a kitchen full of food, also stock up on themed Tupperware (now who would have the heart to refuse those). A party means leftovers, but it does not mean it’s your sole responsibility to down them all. Pack little boxes for everyone to take home, so it’s no longer a battle between your stomach and the trash.
5. Watch out for ‘feeders’
You know, that aunt who has taken it upon herself to ensure everyone walks out looking like her over-stuffed turkey! We know they all mean well, but if you’re trying to cut down on calories, you’ll have to learn to say ‘no’ politely but firmly. And if you can’t, don’t hang around them with an almost empty plate. That’s like asking for seconds!
6. Don’t rule out your favourite
Its human psychology to crave things we can’t have. And when we eventually do give in to that craving, we end up over-indulging. So unless you have extraordinary willpower, we suggest being practical and not denying yourself your favourite treat. If there is the special Christmas cake that your best friend makes every year that you’re really craving for, get yourself a thin slice, but avoid the temptation of packing five more generous pieces to binge on at home.
7. Limit access
Boxes full of sweet treats are inevitable, you can’t fight it. But if you’re sitting on your couch with a cookie jar staring at you from the coffee table, chances are you’ll be diving for it before logic kicks in. Remember this – out of sight is out of mind; so move these temptations to places where you won’t see them that often. If you really have low self-control, go a little extreme – lock up the goodies and drop the keys in a place that’s going to take some effort to reach.
8. Go for slender
We’re talking about glasses. With everyone making their own version of fruit punches, mocktails, and other beverages, it’s easy to lose track of liquid calories. And yes, those glasses count! Grab a slender flute instead of a stocky mug. You’ll end up drinking less.
9. Start healthy
At a buffet, start with a plate full of salads and some soup instead of fried snacks. If you fill yourself up in the beginning, you’ll be less tempted to overeat when going for the main course.
10. Don’t stall it
A lot of people put off healthy-eating to after the festivities, giving them a guilt-free pass to binge-eat all through the season. Honestly, it’s a lot easier to just maintain a balanced diet and not put on weight than going on a crash course later to lose it.