Are you looking forward to the festive season? This issue we share our best advice to help you enjoy some Christmas cheer without kissing your health goals goodbye. If you love nuts, you’ll see why you shouldn’t save them just for Christmas. While the weather starts to simmer in Australia, read how to spruce up your salads with antioxidants. Finally, we share a little French culinary tip that will see you cooking clean at your next soirée.
How to Beat the Xmas Bulge
Are you worried your health goals might take a slide during silly season? Parties galore, a big Christmas lunch and New Year’s celebrations… All of these can lead to unwanted weight gain and unhealthy habits that can be hard to break long after the festivities end.
Every bite counts
While it’s realistic and acceptable to want to enjoy some of the rich foods on offer at parties and restaurants, additional calories from Christmas treats and extras at special occasions can quickly add up and negatively impact on your figure.
Excess body fat can also sap your energy levels and worsen any health conditions you may already have, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you think you might be over-exposed to rich offerings (including your own) as the festive season kicks in, then our tips below will show you how to stay in control.
Put your party plans in perspective
If eating well and maintaining a healthy weight is at the top of your to-do list, then it’s important to consider how many social functions you have coming up. Add them up and you might find yourself eating out 2-3 times per week on average – that’s far too much for most people who are trying to lose weight or prevent creeping kilos!
A good way to manage the number of social occasions on your agenda is to map out your month of food-related festivities on paper or computer. That way you can see just how much time you will spend being catered for, served party snacks and celebratory drinks or cooking your own rich menu in the weeks leading up to Christmas. From here you can plan what you’d like to eat and how much of it. You might choose to fill up on a healthy home-cooked meal before heading out to help reduce the urge to pick from the party plate or increase your physical activity to offset some of those hidden extras.
Anticipating what’s ahead or helping to plan upcoming menus is one of the best ways to stay on track with your weight and wellness goals while still allowing you to enjoy some of your favourite festive foods spread across different events. If you get into the habit of planning well, you could save yourself thousands of calories this Christmas!
Here are some eating suggestions so you can have fun while staying in control:
Snacks and nibbles
- Fill your party platters with delicious seasonal fruits, such as fresh cherries, lychees, mangoes, starfruit or white peaches. Compared to other festive treats, fruit is very low in energy so you can eat larger serves to fill up.
- Serve unsalted nuts or roasted chickpeas instead of crisps and biscuits.
- Make your own low-fat dips such as hommus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki or salsa and serve with sliced carrot and celery strips.
- Try mini tofu and vegie kebabs instead of party pies or sausage rolls.
- Go for sushi rolls or Vietnamese rice paper rolls instead of fried spring rolls.
Salads and mains
- Enjoy salads dressed with balsamic vinegar or lemon/lime juice and olive oil rather than mayonnaise.
- Seek out recipes featuring legumes or wholegrains, such as black-eyed bean salad with lemon and shallots, black bean salad with mango and coriander, wild rice salad with wasabi dressing, tri-coloured quinoa salad with orange and fennel.
- Dodge salads with processed meats, lots of eggs, white pasta and creamy dressings.
- For BBQs, choose lean meat (no more than 150 grams per person) and opt for plenty of vegetables (e.g. corn cobs, zucchini strips, oyster mushrooms), marinated slabs of tofu and/or vegetarian sausages. Or go totally meat-free!
- Finish off most festive meals with a gourmet fresh fruit salad, exotic fruit platter or frozen fruit kebabs. Top with natural yoghurt and nuts, if desired.
- When craving something intensely sweet, make your own healthy low GI dessert rather than buying cake from a shop.
- If you choose to indulge in a rich sweet, take only a small slither and eat it slowly to savour the taste.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake to two standard drinks per day. This means no more than 200 ml wine or two middies of regular beer or 60 ml spirits in total. To go alcohol-free, try a little Grapetiser instead of red wine, choose ginger beer over regular beer or sip a small fruit mocktail instead of a cocktail.
- Enjoy a jug of sparkling water with mint, berries or citrus slices or add in passionfruit ice cubes instead of buying soft drinks, fruit juice or flavoured mineral water/iced teas for your parties.
- In addition to planning what you will eat on the day, it is important to be mindful of the lead up to Christmas to help avoid weight gain. Enjoy your favourite festive foods on one special day but not the whole pre-Xmas period or on every public holiday.
- To help avoid temptation, don’t buy sweets and treats too far ahead of Christmas.
- Try to avoid having too many leftovers. Prepare food for the number of guests you are catering for and share remaining food among your guests to take home.
Still need help strategising how you will navigate your social events? Book in a session with your friendly dietitian. And don’t forget to add in some extra activity to help temper any blow outs!
“People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas!” Anon
What’s Cooking in 2013? – Delicious Recipe Ideas to Help You Use Food As Medicine
Enjoy good food but need to manage a medical condition? No problem. You can do both.
We have planned an exciting series of culinary medicine cookshops for you and your family in 2013. Our first event in February will be a low GI cookshop with a summery menu. And Caroline Trickey, one of our senior lifestyle dietitians, can’t wait to get in the kitchen and show you how it’s done.
In her former life, Caroline owned a café in Melbourne for 12 years, so she’s no stranger to yummy food.
Our cookshops can also help you become familiar with delicious, new wholefoods that have medicinal properties to help accelerate weight loss, improve your sugar and cholesterol levels and fight other chronic diseases.
A really cool idea is to give someone you love a gift of good health this Christmas – choose a gift certificate to attend one of our exciting events in Sydney!
Check out what’s cooking in 2013 and call TODAY on (02) 9899 5208 to reward someone, or just spoil yourself! Go on. You know you want to do it.
What’s Fresh? – Macadamia Nuts
Did you know that Australia is the world's largest producer of macadamias with more than 13 million macadamia trees in the ground? That’s like having one tree for every two people in the country!
Although Australia and Hawaii are the major players when it comes to growing macadamia nuts, these little white balls of goodness are also grown in various other countries such as Africa, Brazil and the Central American region.
Macadamia trees are tall – they scale heights of 12 to 15 metres. The nuts grow in a hard, woody shell, which is protected by a green-brown fibrous husk. When the growing season is over, the nuts fall to the ground and are collected "Down Under" between March and September each year.
Macadamias are beneficial for your health and wellbeing. They are a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre and very low in sodium. Further, macadamias are a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat, which has benefits for heart health and diabetes management.
How often do you eat nuts? Research shows people who eat a handful of nuts at least five times a week, have a significantly lower risk of heart attack than people who eat nuts less than weekly.
Download your free copy of "Nuts & the Big Fat Myth" report.
Although rich in good fats, nuts have been shown to assist with weight management due to their ability to satisfy and keep you fuller for longer. Enjoying a handful of nuts (30–50 g) regularly as part of a healthy diet can therefore reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and help you with weight management.
Perhaps the greatest benefit surrounding this native Australian nut, however, is that macadamias taste great while also being good for you!
When choosing macadamias, look for crisp, plump and meaty kernels (wholes or pieces). If buying them in the shell, select clean nuts free from cracks and holes – they should feel heavy for their size. To keep nuts in the best condition, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to four months and frozen for up to six months. Return nuts to room temperature before eating.
Macadamias taste great eaten raw from the shell or dry roasted. They can also be used to enhance the flavour of cakes, ice cream, salads, roasts and casseroles.
3 ways with macadamia nuts:
- For a delicious breakfast with a difference, try Sue Radd’s Millet with Macadamia Nuts & Currants
- Add some chopped macadamias to fluffy quinoa for a tasty crunch.
- Sprinkle warmed macadamias over your fruit platter this Christmas or toss a few over your favourite summer salad.
Food InFocus with Sue Radd –The Healing Power of Herbs
With summer in full force in Australia, salads make for a refreshing and easy meal. Check out this short TV segment with Sue Radd to learn how you can triple the antioxidant content of your salad.
Kitchen Tip – How to Cook Cleanly
What is your cooking style? Do you grab ingredients as you go or prep everything in advance so that when you start stirring there are no hiccups?
Professional kitchens use a process called ‘mise-en-place’ (pronounced miz on plus) in French. This simply means that everything is set up or put in its place on the bench, ready to go, before you start the cooking process.
From selecting spatulas to picking saucepans, peeling and chopping vegetables, pulling out spices and dicing chicken or meat, everything is positioned at the start line, waiting its turn.
Why would you want to cook this way? It can make the whole cooking process much easier, especially with recipes that have time constraints as you don’t have to stop and assemble the items. It’s also great for beginners. You can just focus on the method and enjoy yourself with your creation!
Finally, don’t forget a little bowl for all your vegie scraps. They can go straight to your compost bin.
Clinic News – Closure for Festive Break
After a fulfilling and rewarding year, our lifestyle dietitians are going to take a well-deserved break. Our last clinic session will be on Friday 21st December. So if you still haven’t booked your follow up appointment and you want to get in before Christmas call us NOW. There are very few spots remaining but we will do our best to fit you in.
We re-open Monday 7th January 2013 and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.
Wishing you and your family a very healthy Christmas and a happy New Year!
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2012.
Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au
We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.
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