December is a dangerous month. We become swamped under the weight of Christmas celebrations, school holidays, work breakups, and a never ending barrage of social events. It’s prime time to fall off the wagon. In fact, any time that you’re busy is an opportunity to let yourself go, which is something you’ll probably regret doing later – probably around New Years Day when the resolutions come out.
And although it’s silly to expect perfection during this time (you’ve got to enjoy life, after all!), there are a few simple hacks you can apply to prevent full scale festive blowout. Here are some tips to keep you focused when it comes to creating a healthy game plan this silly season.
Plan your week’s meals
It may seem counter-intuitive (what do you mean – you want me to spend MORE time on meals?), but a little planning in advance can save you a bunch of last minute visits to the supermarket on weeknights. And no one wants extra trips to the shops during Christmas. Make a plan. Do your shopping all in one hit on the weekend. Write a list and stick to it. Then suddenly you’ll have more time on your hands – time you used to spend dashing out for ingredients or take away meals. This can now be spent on cooking fast, simple nourishing dinners at home.
It doesn’t need to be a gourmet masterpiece. A piece of grilled fish and salad, an omelette with spinach, mushrooms and tomato, or steak and sweet potato mash are all totally acceptable, healthy, and very nourishing.
Make enough for lunch the next day
Whenever you make dinner, double the recipe and make enough for lunch the next day. Even if you’ve already got lunch for tomorrow covered, you can always freeze your portion for later.
Make big batches of healthy meals
I know that freezing is not considered the best thing ever. But if it’s this or takeaway convenience food (or icky commercial frozen meals), give me the frozen stuff anytime. Big batches are key. Try to store it in pyrex-style glass, rather than plastic. Again, it can be really simple. A large pot of soup, a chicken casserole, or bolognese sauce (ready to top zucchini noodles) are all easy to make and freeze well. Do it now – before the you run out of time closer to Christmas.
Pack an abundance of healthy snacks
Things always take longer during Christmas – shopping, traffic and unexpected catch ups can all result in you getting caught out and hungry. Don’t reach for crappy take away snacks! Pack a little tub of nuts and seeds, an apple and some nut butter, some veggie sticks and dip, or some bliss balls to have on standby. Out and about in the car? Then pop an ice brick in a little cooler bag and stash your snacks in the cold for later.
Find an accountability buddy or group
Never underestimate the support of like-minded people. Surrounding yourself with folks who “get” you can make all the difference when the going gets rough. Sometimes you just need to buddy up with a friend – arrange to check in at designated intervals, share your goals and motivate each other.
Are your friends and family not on board? No worries – instead, search Facebook for a group that looks like a good fit. Get in there and voice your intentions. Ask to be held accountable. Knowing you will have to report back can make a huge difference in your mindset, and may just help you say no to that extra dessert/pasta meal/serve of chips.
If you do have a blowout, don’t be too hard on yourself – that’s more stress you just don’t need. Instead, compensate the next day with a cleansing veggie juice, loads of water, and start each morning with a new attitude and a clean slate. It’s all about balance, rather than guilt.
Here’s to a silly season where we come out relatively unscathed (but manage to have a bit of fun too!).
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