Moderation: How to celebrate and stay healthy

Indulge yourself . . . but do it wisely.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

There’s nothing like a good celebration, bringing friends and family together to enjoy everything we’re thankful for in life. And more often than not, we celebrate over food.

These meals are often memorable in part because they’re so different from our everyday food routine. We indulge ourselves with friends and family, which is fine as long as this is an exception to a generally healthy diet. It’s when these indulgent food choices become the norm that we can run into trouble. So how do we ensure we enjoy the celebrations, but keep them in proportion to a balanced lifestyle?

Moderation

Moderation doesn’t mean deprivation; it’s about finding balance.

You can try:

  • Using smaller dishes and bowls: research shows we tend to eat less food if it’s served in smaller dishes.
  • Adding activities to your event: if possible, try adding some movement to your plans so it’s not just about eating and drinking. Take your party outdoors to a park, lake or beach, or start your event earlier so you can play some games outside.
  • Leaving the leftovers: avoid temptation and give your guests a package of leftovers to take with them.
  • Making it fresh: choose a menu with lots of fresh foods rather than processed. Especially at this time of year there are plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables in season. Why not make a decadent fruit platter for dessert instead of a typical sugar-laden treat?
  • Pacing yourself: if it’s just the one day, relax and enjoy. But it’s not called the “silly season” for nothing. If you have multiple parties planned, choose to eat moderately at each party.

Try some of our other practical tips to stick with moderation when celebrating with family and friends.

Easy tips to keep balanced

Save yourself. It’s tempting to fill up on finger foods before dinner. Stick to plant-based options like veggie sticks and hummus and avoid the deep-fried nibbles. Don’t hover by the hors d’oeuvres; try and catch up on quality conversation instead.

Choose plants. If the dinner table has all the food spread out to share, try to sit by the veggies and take a good helping of them first. You’ll usually find that you don’t have to try so hard to eat less of the poorer choices.

Enjoy dessert. Enjoy indulging at the end of a meal, just be mindful of portion size.
If there are multiple dessert options, consider which one you really want. Smooth or crunchy? Hot or cold? Pick something you know will satisfy but won’t keep you going back for more.