The season we love (but also slightly hate) is right around the corner, so that means it’s time for food upon food, drinks upon drinks and about a million parties. We all know that at this time of the year, the kilos can pile on as the plates get passed around. But, never fear, I’m here to help and give you some tips and tricks to keep your health in check this silly season.
Gettin’ your drink on
Ok, I know this one is a toughie, what with all the constant questioning from distant relatives you haven’t seen since last year, but you’re going to have to promise me you’ll try to be good. One of the not so friendly options you can be sipping during those big meals is that glorious amber liquid: beer, so either prepare yourself for that ‘beer belly’ or stick to light/low carb options. If you’re more of a vino lover, then you’re in luck, pinot’s, both white and red, are super low carb so you can drink them Lionel Richie style, all night long. For something a little stronger you can’t go past vodka and tequila this season with soda water and some fresh lemon/lime. Sugary mixers are a huge issue if you’re trying to stay low carb/avoid sugar, so go for the non-sweet clear stuff!
When this time of the year rolls around we love to pig out on that delicious decadent food put in front of us. Don’t deprive yourself, variety is the spice of life, but I ask you all to resist the temptation for seconds and thirds, because all this pigging out is going to lead to something you really don’t want, and the cousin of the “beer belly”, the “food baby belly”. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to talk to the brain and say ‘hey we’re full’ and once you’re at that point, it’s a good idea to put down the fork. If you keep going, that’ll cause bloating and cause discomfort, putting a damper on your party spirit, so, don’t forget to slow the chewing down and focus on savouring. If you’re a fast eater, why don’t you stop every few bites for some water or conversation and this will give your body more time to digest and let you know when you’re full.
Keep on moving
Grab your mates and hit up the shores for a classic Aussie beach cricket game or after a massive lunch, kick up a family game of footy in the backyard. You’ll get your heart pumping and use up some extra calories in your quest to be the family ultimate Frisbee Champion for 2018. If you’re not into sports, a post-meal walk around the block is just as good especially if it helps you clear your mind and gives you a break from a crazy household. It’s recommended that we do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, so even consider waking up earlier than normal, getting a quick walk or run in (whatever you prefer) and those endorphins you’ve released, will put you in a great mood for the rest of the day. A tip to getting motivated – set out your workout gear the night before (heck sleep in it if you must!) so you don’t have the chance to procrastinate in the AM.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Some of us need at least 8 hours of sleep a night to be a high-functioning member of society. And others rely too much on caffeine, that’ll only give them a hit for a bit and then they’ll slump their way through the rest of the day. If you’re getting too little sleep then your body is going to store fat because our bodies have difficulty processing insulin (hormones that change blood sugar into energy). You’ll also increase your cortisol levels which makes us stressed and cranky. Try not to stay up late binging on holiday movies or wrapping presents and get into the habit of having a night-time routine to get yourself settled. Don’t watch the next episode of The Haunting of Hill House, shut your Netflix down and get some more Zzz’s.
When we think of the holiday season, we stress. And when we stress, we tend to snack. Our cravings become wild so our minds are constantly sending ‘feed me’ messages to our stomach. Instead of reaching for some of the more indulgent holiday snacks on offer, reach for something that is healthier but still filling. Try keeping cucumbers, carrots, celery and hummus around so you can dip as you please without the guilt. Having fresh seasonal fruit on the kitchen counter/dining table is also a great go to for when you get “snacky”, you’ll not only satisfy your sweet tooth but get a bunch of vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Choose natural ingredients, and find opportunities to try different alternative ingredients to some of the processed options out there. We all have that crazy health obsessed Sister, Aunty or Cousin that would be more than happy to bring some dishes/ingredients along to the family lunch/dinner or talk about them with you – you never know you might learn something new or find a new favourite ingredient! Coconut oil, almond butter, Greek yogurt and even dried fruit and nut mixes are great alternatives and easy to get your hands on at the local supermarket. Instead of frying your foods, bake, steam or grill your way into a healthier version. Your future summer holiday body will thank you and you can thank me later.