Festive indulgence anxiety. It’s not a real condition, but maybe you can relate to being nervous about Christmas season functions catered with platters of deep-fried finger foods? It can be hard to resist a fifth or sixth – especially if you arrive hungry or are drinking alcohol (or both). At catered functions, you may also feel obligated to take food when it’s offered and fear that saying “no” will offend the host (even if it does derail your healthy eating).
While it might seem as though December is an inevitable diet saboteur, SH dietitian Liz has some simple tricks for indulging in moderation (no deprivation required).
1. Manage hunger. The night before an event, get plenty of sleep as sleep deprivation can lead to overeating. Also try to manage stress levels. On the day, eat a small and nutritious meal before an event to prevent overindulgence.
2. Indulge in moderation. Don’t feel obligated to overeat just because food is offered. Try eating mindfully, savouring the smell, taste and texture and chewing thoroughly, which will help you to feel satisfied with less food.
3. Choose wisely. Prioritise high-fibre foods to sustain levels of fullness. Look for items such as vegetable sticks with dip or veggie-based items.
4. If you’re consuming alcohol, have a glass of water between each drink. Be aware that alcohol may diminish your inhibitions and encourage overeating or high-fat/high-sugar food choices.
5. If you have a food intolerance, eat something small before an event or bring a snack with you, in case the catering is not suitable for your needs.
For tips to prevent Christmas Day overeating, weight gain and bloating, take a cue from our dietitians’ tips sheet. If you are looking to start the new year with a healthy eating schedule that fits your lifestyle and health goals, consider consulting an accredited practising dietitian (APD) for a personalised, sustainable plan.