10 Tips for Careful Indulgence This Christmas

By Charlotte Bumstead
During the holiday season, it is easy to forget your disciplined diet and overindulge on fancy cocktails and tasty treats. Not to mention the endless options in tempting hors d’oeuvres, which somehow manage to fill you up before you even touch the turkey. You’re lucky if you can squeeze in a quick jog around the house to make some room for dessert. It’s the holidays—an easy excuse, but unfortunately a short-term response to those nasty threats of a bulging waist-line come January. We found ten tips—recommended by one of Canada’s leading nutritionists, Leslie Beck—to stop you from fitting into Santa’s suit, while still enjoying Christmas for its enticing pleasures.

1) Don’t miss your pre-game meal. While the idea of skipping breakfast and lunch to save room for dinner seems appealing, it doesn’t actually work as planned. You are better off to eat two healthy meals and even squeeze in a protein-rich snack like nuts, yogurt and fruit, a skim-milk latte or an energy bar. It will help to harness in your appetite before the party.

2) Make a party plan. If you’re worried about going overboard, set limits beforehand as to how many hors d-oeuvres you’ll eat, how many drinks you’ll have and how many Christmas cookies you’ll try.

3) Pass on standard treats. “Why waste your extra calories on standard fare you can have any time?” asks Beck. Skip on the everyday snacks, such as cheese and crackers or chips and dip, and enjoy the seasonal specials—like spiked eggnog.

4) Stick to one drink per hour. We have all heard this advice—try following it this time. It takes an hour for your body to metabolize one alcoholic drink. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the rum punch, sparkling wine, or coffee and baileys—enjoy the party. But limiting yourself will keep your blood alcohol concentration down; also making it easier for you to stick to your rules of indulgence. Switch it up with a glass of water.

5) Choose wisely. Out of all the options in hors d’oeuvres, avoid the fatty deep-fried cheese puffs. Instead, go for lower calorie choices; such as shrimp and cocktail sauce, sushi, or the vegetable platter.

6) Be smart in the seating plan. Avoid sitting in the chair directly beside the appetizer table, where the temptation vibes are strongest. And you don’t need to stop and snack each time you pass by.

7) You can say “no.” When your friends and family push you on seconds, politely tell your host you have had enough. They will understand, and your body will appreciate it.

8 ) Control your taste tests. As the host, you always want to be sure of what you are serving to your guests. Avoid excess nibbling while cooking and baking. Instead, stick to one sample before and another after the seasoning.

9) Leftovers count, too. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve survived once the big meal is over. Stick to your plan when indulging in leftover snacks. Freeze leftovers for another time, or divide them up amongst your guests.

10) Burn some off. No matter the excuse, your schedule isn’t too busy to squeeze in a 15 minute power walk. Some simple cardio will burn calories, reduce your appetite and further your determination to not overindulge.