Indulgence in Moderation is key to enjoying festive season without weight gain, dieticians counsel
- Cheats, tricks to make the most of celebrations, commitments without calorie load
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: There’s only one way to avoid starting the New Year in a panic about losing holiday flab – and that’s not to put it on in the first place. With the holiday season around the corner, bringing with it mountains of buffets, extensive meals with extended family and friends, crowded calendars and comfort food, trying to maintain both a healthy diet and a healthy frame of mind simultaneously can be a bridge too far for many of us.
The answer, according to Right Bite dietician Maria Abi Hanna, is to indulge in moderation. The nutrition and catering company, which operates from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, understands the potential pitfalls of the season for all their clientele, young and old, single and families – and has put together a list of tricks and cheats to help navigate the season with a smile and no extra pounds.
“With all the festivities, December can be a difficult month for those of us trying to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. But instead of being obsessive and stressed about what not to eat or worrying about having to start a new diet in January, there is a simpler and happier path,” Abi Hanna said.
“Don’t deprive yourself or try to be “perfect” — as this will only lead to overeating. Instead, just use a handful of tips that will help maintain weight and still allow for fun.”
Right Bite’s Tips to Avoid Weight Gain for the 2014 holiday season include: not skipping meals, especially focusing on having a healthy breakfast to get the metabolism going; eating frequently, with healthy snacks like raw almonds or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese every two to three hours.
Try to avoid getting extra hungry, as that leads to overindulgence when you do finally eat; if that is impossible, when you do sit down to eat, start with water or vegetables – or both – to help you fill up before reaching for everything else.
Balancing meals across the day is another important strategy: If you know your evening meal is going to be unhealthy, for example, even the scales by eating a healthy breakfast and lunch full of water, fruits and veggies, lean protein and healthy fats.
And even though the holiday season drives many of us to distraction, make the most of it by staying active. When you’re doing your holiday shopping, park on the far side of the mall and walk to where you need to go. Take stairs instead of escalators and elevators; lend a hand with the house work; make the most of the better weather.
Some of the tips hold true for every time of year: When you eat, particularly with friends and family, pace yourself. Put your fork down between bites, participate in the conversation, and chew well. Give your stomach the 20 minutes it needs to tell your brain that you’re full.
If you’re eating at a restaurant buffet – and especially the notorious Friday brunch – practice easy portion control by using appetizer or salad plates instead of dinner plates for your meals. You can load up your plate if you are selective about what you put on it: Steer clear of creamy sauces and gravies, and opt for the grilled, roasted and steamed options. More often than not, these days most hotels and restaurants provide bite-size desserts instead of full-size: take your cue from those.
Don’t drink your calories – whether in the form of juices, sodas, teas and coffees or alcoholic beverages. Water is the ultimate choice.
Finally, Abi Hanna says, there are two things we should all remember, particularly at this time of year and in a part of the world where there is so much emphasis on hospitality, etiquette and togetherness. First, remember that whether you are a host or a guest, the emphasis should be on family, friends and fun, and not on the food; and second, we all need to learn how to say and accept “no” politely.
“Our tips should help everyone stay lean and happy throughout the holidays, which is just one more reason for celebration in the new year,” said Abi Hanna. “Instead of worrying about shedding the extra kilos from the past, you’ll be able to look ahead to the future.”
The Right Bite Nutrition Centre is located in the heart of Dubai, with telephone numbers +971 4 3388763 and +971 4 3425208. It also operates in Abu Dhabi, with a satellite office located at The American Surgecenter, 26th Street, Villa 408, Al Rawdah Area, telephone number +9712 4430909.
To learn more about Right Bite, visit www.right-bite.com, and follow us on www.facebook.com/MyRightBite.
About The Right Bite Nutrition Centre
Right Bite is a specialised centre for expert nutritional consultation and bespoke gourmet healthy meal delivery service. A pioneer in advocating healthy eating habits, Right Bite is dedicated to helping customers achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle through educated food choices, and by providing customised meal packages that are results-oriented, convenient and flavourful. Right Bite works with the best medical and culinary experts to ensure that eating healthier becomes a way of life for its customers.