Festive Eating Gone Right

By Jean Tong, Nutritionist, Halley Medical Aesthetics

Don’t we all love celebrating festive seasons and the feasting that comes along with it? We are all almost guilty of over-indulging and the feeling of overindulgence leaves us feeling guilty the very next day.

How can we help ourselves to better curb the indulgence and calories, even if it’s once in a blue moon? First, let us explore the reasons for overindulging and we will share tips on how to control the short bursts of calories without reducing your enjoyment.

Why do we tend to indulge during the festive season?

It’s a once-a-year affair

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Subconsciously, we believe that our feasting happens only once in a blue moon, but we should not forget that there are multiple festivals throughout the year and that excludes our occasional travelling trips and birthday celebrations. It is no wonder that our weight piles up easily over the course of just a year.

Festive foods look a lot more appealing and attractive

Imagine a plate of chicken rice versus a full roasted, honey glazed turkey. Isn’t the latter dish much more appetizing at the thought of it? Have you wondered why so?

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Festive feasts are always presented beautifully in terms of words, pictures, atmosphere to influence your appetite or craving. A festive table that is beautifully dressed in Christmas decorations, plates, cutlery and Christmas candles definitely looks more appealing, and give us the perception that the food tastes amazing. This makes us want to indulge a little more than we should!

Spoilt for choices for high calories spread

We are all susceptible to sensory-specific satiety, a phenomenon that explains why we get bored with eating just one type of food. When we are exposed to countless food choices during the festive seasons, and every option seemed to taste great and exciting, we get curious and want to try as many as possible. As such, we often ended up buying and consuming more than what we really need.

 

Tips to curb the calories during the festive season

Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach

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Don’t go to a party hungry! When we are hungry, we are more likely to overeat, especially unhealthy, but satisfying treats. Have a high fibre and/or high protein snack such as a fruit or whole-grain crackers before attending a party. This will help to curb your appetite and keeps you healthy!

Clear the table of food as soon as everyone’s done eating

Clear the table of food as soon as everyone’s done eating. This is to prevent everyone from reaching out for more food while chatting and catching up! Having a festive meal together entails spending much time on the dining table. If there are snacks and other food around, it will entice us to eat more while having a hearty chat with our loved ones.

Drink plenty of water

Mindless eating happens often in a party, as we tend to mingle and chat while snacking or eating.

Do make it a point to drink plenty of water, even at a party. Water helps to make us feel full and reduce our food cravings. Furthermore, water has no calories or fats so we don’t even have to worry about drinking more.

Shift your focus from food to activities-based games

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The festive season is not just about indulging in festive treats, but it is also a time for family bonding, games and fun. Make it a family tradition to engage in some fun festive-themed games after a meal. In this way, you can burn some calories and have lesser food cravings while having fun!

Get enough sleep

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Getting enough sleep actually helps curb hunger pangs. Having too little sleep wreaks havoc to our ‘hunger hormones’, which triggers hunger signals unnecessarily to our brain. In this state of mind, it is very easy for you to eat more than you need to, and thus piling up on calories and weight. Be sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to help you curb your appetite and food cravings.

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