Christmas is upon us and it’s time to talk turkey about how to have a healthier, happier festive season!
With gatherings and celebrations aplenty, temptation to indulge is greater and failing to plan for a healthy holiday can lead to overeating, extensive sedentary behavior and weight gain.
According to Nutrition Australia, the average Aussie gains 0.8 to 1.5 kilograms over the Christmas period.
But there’s no need to fear festive fare, as ensuring a healthy Christmas is a lot easier than many people realise.
With an abundance of summer fruits and often more leisure time and loved ones around to get active with, it’s the perfect time to improve your diet and physical activity levels.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan has shared five tips to help Queenslanders have a holly, jolly and healthy Christmas.
One, consider portion sizes.
When so much food is on offer, it can be easy to over-eat, so try to stop and enjoy what you’re consuming. If you know you will want to finish everything in front of you, use an entrée plate instead of a dinner plate. Also, vegetables and fruits should be a main element of whatever style of meal you choose for Christmas, and can be served in a host of creative ways – think fruit platters using tree-shaped cutters and colourful salads.
Two, snack smart.
Eat something light and healthy before heading to events, to help reduce your chance of snacking on high kilojoule party food. If you’re the host, set the scene by serving healthy snacks before the main course. Vegetable sticks, served with guacamole, salsa or a hummus dip, are a quick and easy starter.
Three, exercise daily.
It’s recommended all Queenslanders get moving on most, if not all, days of the week for optimum health. So, why not use the break from work during the festive season as an opportunity to increase your physical activity? Head for a bike ride, or play a game of backyard cricket at your Christmas or New Year’s gathering. If you’re away from home, make the most of the facilities at your camping ground, motel or resort – whether that be hitting the pool or hiring a tennis court. Also, instead of heading for a nap after a large meal, walk it off. Just make sure to stay SunSmart when outdoors and the UV Index level is three or above.
Four, hydrate and limit alcohol.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water; to give your drink a flavour boost, add a squeeze of lemon or infuse water with fruit. Also, remember, while drinking alcohol in moderation (one or two standard drinks a day) may add to the enjoyment of your festive events, over-consuming alcohol can lead to weight gain.
Five, be wary of your own weaknesses and stick to your goals.
We all have different habits and expectations for the holidays, so it’s good to take stock of your own, so you can take steps to stay on track. Try letting your friends and family know what choices you will be making this festive season, so they can avoid offering you that second serve of plum pudding.
We know at least one third of all cancer cases can be prevented through simple healthy lifestyle changes, including being active, eating well, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, staying SunSmart and participating in cancer screening programs.
It only takes a few small changes to look after the health of yourself, friends and family, so feast to feel good and unwrap better well-being this Christmas!
More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.