Experts on overindulging: ‘Step away from the snack table!’


The end of the year usually means end-of-year parties, family gatherings and, of course, that decadent Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. 

We tend to see in the New Year with a somewhat wider waistline, regretting our overindulgence. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a few simple things you can do to maintain a healthy balance and curb overindulge

Mbali Mapholi and Retha Booyens, registered dietitians and spokespeople for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, share their tips on how to remain mindful of healthy eating over the holidays, while still enjoying the downtime.  

Mbali Mapholi has this advice:

1. It’s the same packet of chips 

“Yes, you’re relaxing on the beach with friends and the context is the holidays – but the packet of chips offered around is just the same as any other time, so, stick to your normal reaction. If you’re not hungry, or if you would prefer a healthier snack, pass it on. 

"It's the same as choosing what you want when waiters at a party are offering canapés – just because it's there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Be mindful about what you choose to eat.

"Sometimes when it comes to food offerings, we go on autopilot and think we need to hoover up everything in our sights just because it is being offered. We don’t! It’s just food, and there will be more.

"There will be other contexts. We still have free choice, and we need to keep this in perspective – it is the same packet of chips you could say no to any other day, so say no today.” 

chips, snacks, unhealthy,

2. Step away from the snack table 

“It’s not the holiday season that is the pitfall but rather our mindless reactions. Step away from the snack table. When you eat, choose well, chew slowly and be aware of what you are eating. 

"Bring your favourite healthy dish to the family braai. Don’t hesitate to eat well. Keep your eye on portion size and trade the treats you don’t want to miss out on with more exercise and a more balanced meal before or after.”

snacks, canapes, food, party, table

Retha Booyens has this advice: 

1. Keep it in perspective 

“If you find yourself in Rome on a rare holiday with the chance to enjoy an Italian gelato at the Trevi Fountain – just go right ahead and enjoy it. But if you're faced with a third helping of mom’s peppermint crisp tart, you can probably skip it. If it is a genuine once in a lifetime experience, go for it, but if it’s a holiday habit that just trips you up, let it go.” 

peppermint, tart, pudding, dessert, sweet, sugar

2. Stick to your goals and plans but be flexible 

“You can avoid the stress that compromises your enjoyment of the holidays by sticking to your goals and plans in flexible and practical ways. Keep your portion sizes in check at every meal. Cut back on the empty calories of alcohol by consciously reducing your intake and drinking a glass of water between every glass of wine or beer. Never slake your thirst with an alcoholic beverage.

"Stick to your exercise regime. If you can’t access your usual classes, sessions and activities, then run, walk, ride or play physical games for a minimum of two and a half hours a week.”

exercise, beach, couple, outdoors, sunny, holiday

Image credits: iStock

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