It is that time of the year again – festive season and holidays are upon us, which means that there will be various social events, Christmas parties or year end functions that we will attend or even host. Try some of these tips to reduce over-indulgence – your waistline might just thank you…

Attending a function:

  1. Steer clear of carbohydrate rich snacks before a meal (chips, cakes, biscuits), rather fill up on protein rich snacks (like nuts or biltong) or vegetables with hummus or cottage cheese.
  2. Be daring – dish up a variety of food at every meal – instead of focusing on only one or two options like potato or rice and some meat.
  3. Include salads or vegetables (at least half a plate).
  4. Eat slowly if finger snacks are served. Choose one or two snacks at a time and go sit down or mingle with other guests. This gives your brain time to signal that you are full.
  5. Opt for the protein and fiber rich finger snacks – sausages, meat on skewers, mini quiches, fruit or vegetable kebabs, etc.
  6. Avoid drinking high energy drinks the whole night – alternate between water, diluted juices and alcoholic beverages. Alcohol contains 29kJ per gram, second to the 37kJ per gram that fat contains.
  7. Avoid syrups and high sugar mixers like Coke, Sprite, etc. Rather opt for the diet options or better yet – mix with sparkling water.
  8. If you know there will be a variety of processed and junk food at the party, rather have a small meal at home. Something like a tuna salad or ham, cheese and tomato sandwich can help to fill the gap and reduce temptation.

Hosting a party:

  1. Have fruit infused sparkling water in various flavours available. This will help reduce the intake of high sugar, high energy and alcoholic beverages.
  2. Have fresh fruit and vegetables (kebabs), nuts, biltong, whole wheat crackers with hummus or cottage cheese available as appetizers.
  3. Ensure there are a variety of salads and vegetables available that guests can choose from
  4. Always prepare a minimum of one green and one red / yellow or orange dish and at least one cold and one warm dish. This can be something like a fresh green leafy salad with baby spinach leaves, cucumber, herbs, feta and a lemon dressing, a caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella slices served with basil and vinaigrette) and ratatouille (leftover vegetables baked in the oven).
  5. Keep different food groups separate – avoid adding white sauce / crumbs to vegetables or bread to protein dishes. This can lead to us over eating a specific food group very easily, without noticing.
  6. Should there be only finger foods – make mini quiches (see recipe on blog) or mini tuna cakes in a muffin tin, meat balls with tomato salsa, chicken kebabs with plain yogurt, caprese salad on a stick, grilled vegetable skewers, tomato salsa bruschetta, fruit skewers with yoghurt or devilled eggs.
  7. Have a coffee / tea break before serving dessert.
  8. Keep dessert portions small – and only serve it later in the evening. This gives your brain time to signal that you are full.