Healthy holiday food
The festive season is all about lolling on the beach, long-distance drives and late-night celebrations – but unfortunately it’s about indulgence and expanding waistlines too.
So try our easy-to-implement holiday eating tips; it will help you enjoy the pleasures of the season without popping out of your jeans come January.
1. For a day at the beach
Instead of ice cream, pies, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and chocolates, make some scrumptious sarmies.
On the outside: Use wholewheat bread for extra fibre, pumpernickel, a wholesome fruit-and-seed loaf or any bread with lots of whole kernels, crushed wheat and oats or oat bran (since these have a low glycaemic index). For a change, try Ryvita or wholewheat crackers.
On the inside: Remember that healthy fillings don’t have to fall flat on taste. Try these savvy substitutions:
- Instead of butter or margarine, mix some finely chopped vegetables with low-fat yogurt or spread on some mashed avocado or peanut butter.
- Instead of Cheddar cheese, use Mozzarella or low-fat Edam – this will save you 50kJ per 30g wedge.
- Instead of regular mayonnaise, dilute low-fat mayo 1:1 with skimmed milk – this simple step will save you 298kJ per spoon.
Other healthy snacks
Pack a few other beach bites, such as:
- Carrot and cucumber sticks
- Dried fruit (two to three pieces or 30g equals one fruit)
- Nuts (choose unsalted varieties and don’t overdo it – one portion equals 8 to 10 nuts)
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
- Bran muffins (they’re low in fat and high in fibre)
- Popcorn (air-popped without too much salt and no oil)
2. On a road trip
Instead of pies, fatty foods, chocolates, sweets, salty, fatty takeaway meals, carbonated cold drinks, pack your own healthy snacks:
- Chicken breast pita: chop and trim the fat off the chicken, mix with lettuce, cocktail tomatoes, peppers and low-fat dressing and serve in a pita bread or on a wholewheat roll
- Super salad with cocktail tomatoes, carrot sticks, gherkins, cucumber and low-fat dressing
- Mega-healthy meatballs with no added fat using extra-lean mince
- Snack selection: include boiled eggs, fresh fruit, high-fibre muffins and beef jerky (small portion with no visible fat)
At cafés or petrol-station stores, choose the following:
- Fruit, yogurt or drinking yogurt
- Bread rolls and cheese wedges
- Dried fruit
- Bran muffins or low-fat health bars (e.g. seed bars, dried fruit bars)
- Hard sucking or jelly sweets (instead of chocolates)
At restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food venues, choose the following:
- Baked potato with cottage cheese and salad
- Pasta with a tomato-based sauce (instead of a creamy one)
- Grilled chicken, fish or very lean red meat with salad, baked or boiled potatoes and veggies
- Vegetarian stir-fry
- Toasted sandwiches with vegetable fillings – ask for no butter or margarine
Steer clear of:
- Creamy sauces – instead of a creamy mushroom-sauce burger with chips, choose a Hawaiian burger with salad
- Deep-fried food – instead of crumbed chicken, choose grilled chicken
- Rich desserts – instead of cake or ice cream, choose a fresh fruit salad
3. At a festive cocktail party
Instead of high-fat finger foods, pizza, pies, pastries, cheese and biscuits, nibble on healthier nosh such as:
- Meats – choose small portions of chicken
- Vegetables – pick the salad and fresh veg platters
- Boiled eggs
- Filled pita breads
- Fruit or dried fruit
Instead of sugary cocktails, wine, beer and spirits, choose lite wine, lite beer, white wine diluted with soda water, spirits with sugar-free mixers or water. Stick to the following suggested units and remember to drink water between drinks:
- Men – two to three units per day
- Women – one to two units per day
One unit = 25ml spirits, 120ml wine or one can of beer or cider.
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