Have you already wolfed down one too many mince pies or had consecutive days of sneaky lunch time champagnes without compensating with extra exercise? Don’t fret. Abandoned fitness regimes don’t necessarily have to be thrown out the window. With a little forward thinking, it is possible to enjoy the most gluttonous time of the year while dodging any weight gain.
1. Make it quick
Ok, your schedule is pretty tight, but squeezing in 20-minutes of fitness is always possible? When you’re short on time, make it quick by carrying out high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which is alternating periods of high intensity exercise with short rest periods. This type of exercises provides the ultimate bang for your fitness buck by releasing adrenaline – a key hormone that mobilises stored body fat for fuel. However, it’s important to have a base level of fitness before attempting this type of training, so if you haven’t worked out in a while, slowly build your cardio endurance before including HIIT in your routine. This could mean a 5-minute brisk walk, followed by a 1-min jog. Repeat for a total of 45 minutes.
2. Wow with water
Celebrating with family and friends usually means popping the cork and a few too many egg nogs which can sneak in a lot of extra kilojoules. Try diluting wine and spirits with ice and mineral water. If you are a host, as an alternative to alcohol offer infused water to serve guests. Try adding orange, cucumber, strawberry or mint for a refreshing burst of flavour. Make sure you have jugs or bottles of water available so your guests can alternate drinking alcohol with water.
3. Showcase simplicity
Move away from the “more is better” mentality by keeping your festive spread simple. Focus on
cooking fewer dishes that incorporate some nutritious, yet filling foods that help people feel nourished and satisfied (not stuffed) after eating. feeling full for longer will reduce the chances of overeating and mindless snacking. A few ideas. Lighten up the cheese and dip platter with some fresh fruit, nuts, low fat dip (hummus) and veggie sticks. Incorporate roasted cauliflower in a traditional potato bake. Dress salads with simple (and heart healthy) dressings like extra virgin olive oil, and jazz up your salads with vibrant colours of fresh seasonal fruit and bright colours like sliced mango, pomegranate or watermelon.
4. Redefine dessert
We’ve all come to think of festive dessert as puddings, brandy custard or mince pies. Instead, consider omitting the oven and offering foods that are lighter on the waistline and require much less energy to prepare. Consider some artfully arranged seasonal fruit platter with nuts and dark chocolate, complimented by a small glass of liquor as an optional add-on.