By Alison Ginn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Campaign Manager, LiveLighter Victoria
Christmas parties, picnics and BBQs on balmy evenings – summer is a fantastic season to be out and about with family, friends and colleagues.
Amid all of this festive fun, our healthy habits tend to take a back seat.
At this social time of year we often eat less fruit and vegetables, consume larger portion sizes, drink more alcohol and forgo exercise.
An abundance of tempting Christmas food appears in supermarkets and workplaces – and unfortunately our waistlines pay the price.
But with a little planning and creativity, you can keep healthy and avoid weight gain without sacrificing your social life.
Here are my top tips for making this festive season a healthy one:
- Embrace summer fruits. December is the perfect time to enjoy juicy watermelon, fresh strawberries, and Christmassy cherries so why not take a summer fruit platter to your next event. There’s the added bonus of not having to prepare anything (buy them on your way) – or with just a little forethought, try these yummy strawberry Santas .
- Get active on your commute. Make the most of the warm weather and start cycling or walking to work. If it’s too far, get off transport a few stops early. If you don’t have time to exercise at other times at least you can still get 30 minutes of physical activity a day in your commute.
- Watch your portions. This is hard to do if you’re standing right next to the food table so try and move away and mingle on the other side of the room. When you make foods to share, make mini versions. They look great and help everyone watch their portion sizes, which play a key role in weight management.
- Get active with others. Heading to an after-work Christmas party? Start the celebration on a healthy note by walking to the event with your colleagues.
- Space your drinks. December can be a hot month and drinking a lot of alcohol can lead to dehydration. Alcohol is also very high in kilojoules and we often consume more than we realise. Alternate alcohol with water or dilute your alcoholic beverage with soda water. For an even healthier treat, try LiveLighter’s delicious drink recipes, such as this blueberry, pineapple and sage water or this refreshing strawberry mint cooler
- Enjoy seasonal fruit and vegetables. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are fresh and cheap. During summer there is an abundance of colourful and delicious options to enjoy such as apricots, nectarines, cherries, beans, capsicum and corn. Learn more about what’s in season with LiveLighter’s A-Z of fruit and vegetables booklet
- Bring healthy food to celebrations. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy salads, dips and fresh veges, so why not take a colourful salad to your next family barbecue or vege dips to a party ? For inspirations and new ideas LiveLighter has plenty of healthier recipes at www.livelighter.com.au/recipes