Healthy Holiday Eating - How to stay healthy while you celebrate the holidays

The end of a year is a time to celebrate a year’s hard work, and a rest well earned. Many major faiths celebrate their most sacred holidays during this time, and even those with a more pragmatic approach enjoy a time of feasting, family, and food-centered socialising. There are year-end office parties and client do’s to consider, and every store beckons with shelves and shelves of sweets, crisps, snacks, and treats.

You know you’ve earned it … you know you want to … just a nibble.

Before you know it, those extra pounds have made their home on your waistline or your once-pert posterior.

Before you start 2017 with a litany of To Dos on your resolution list, topped by “Lose 10kg!”, let’s look at some festive food strategies to help you beat the battle of the bulge before it’s even begun.

5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

1. Choose Salad

The easiest way to stay in shape is simply choose the salad. Every time. And we don’t mean those crouton-laden, mayonnaise-drenched pseudo-salads showing off their fake health ninja skills at Spur. We mean a bowl of leafy greens with anti-oxidant rich berries and omega-laden seeds, a dash of olive oil, and some delicious avo or slices of smoked chicken breast. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but keeping it creative and colourful will make you much more eager to eat that bowl of deliciousness.

Salads work for breakfast (yes, really!), lunch, or supper - or all three. You really can’t go wrong with a bowl of fresh raw veggies at every meal. They’re more filling than you’d expect, and your arteries will thank you in January.

2. Keep it Small

The French are known for great food AND narrow waistlines. It may seem like an unlikely combination, but the secret for them is in portion sizes. They don’t restrict themselves in terms of variety of foods. But they keep the portions small - A Taste is Enough.

In fact, French meals are languid, social affairs, allowing the food time to digest as people relax, chat, and enjoy each bite. They also tap a nod to the self-limiting value of being watched while they eat, as this article in the Guardian points out:

"We drink in moderation, try to have some of everything, avoid taking a third helping because we are being watched and judged by others. Which is not the case when we nibble on our own beside the fridge."

3. Choose Fruit Over Sweets

Fruit are surprisingly high in sugar, and so perfectly able to satisfy that sweet tooth. What sets them apart from conventional sweets and desserts is the fact that they are also packed with water, fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s also more difficult to overeat fruit, as the body seems to know when to stop by itself. On the other hand, the refined sugars and carbs in more conventional desserts just scream: “More!” - not great for keeping the belt buckled where it is.

4. Choose Vegetables Over Everything

Vegetables are nature’s super foods. Like fruit, they come with water, fibre, and vitamins. But unlike fruit, they have very low sugar levels. Vegetables can be filling and delicious - and they pack a serious health punch. Paired with hummus or a delicious cheese, vegetables make a great snack, or even a delicious main meal.

5. Choose Your Beverages Wisely

In this so-called party season, it’s tempting to let you hair down and get roaring drunk. So often, people feel they’ve earned the right to wash their stresses away in a river of unwisely-chosen alcohol. Alcohol on its own is not necessarily bad. However, too much can be a very bad thing. We all know the very serious dangers of drunken driving. Drunk dialling can be pretty hazardous to your reputation as well as your dignity. If your family has a history of alcoholism, or if you’re battling to beat a candida infection, alcohol of any kind is certainly not for you.

However, certain alcoholic beverages, in moderation, can actually be good for your health. A glass of antioxidant-rich red wine every evening has been shown to reduce heart disease and inflammation.

The key in everything is moderation. It’s good to relax, destress, and let your hair down. But it’s also important to be responsible and make smart choices.

Dr Sanua wants to help you live your best, healthiest life. He has seen that a lot of our health starts with the gut - and what goes into it. Call Dr Sanua today on 011 463 1614 or email him at for advice on the best eating plan for you.


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