Choose a healthier Christmas menu 9 December 2016 It’s that time of year again when everything starts to slow down and we come together with friends and family to celebrate. It is often inevitable that with celebrating comes food…and lots of it! A healthier Christmas menu and food choices these holiday don’t have to have a big impact on your waistline or diabetes management. Some tips for the host: Fresh is best! Christmas time offers us a wonderful variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. When planning your menu or sending out suggestions to your guests keep this in mind and encourage more nutritious snack ideas. Ideas such as veggie sticks and whole grain crackers with hummus, tzatziki or salsa, fresh fruit salad, cherries or air-popped popcorn work really well! Provide a variety of low kilojoule beverage options to help keep guests hydrated. Jugs of water and sparkling water with slices of lime and strawberries give a nice Christmas touch Allow your guests to serve themselves. This not only makes it easier for you it allows your guests to plate up their own individual portion. Providing a good variety of salads and vegetable options will also help them balance their meals better A celebration is a special occasion and but still aim for smaller portions. Consider this when plating up desserts and treats. Cutting desserts into bite size portions will help you and your guests make healthier choices and not over indulge Even though you’re the host and often running around making sure the day goes smoothly do not forget to enjoy the moment. Eat slowly and talk lots with family and friends Some of the best Christmas memories can revolve around a friendly game of cricket or soccer with the family. Plan ahead for some activities that will be loads of fun as well as practical burning up those extra kilojoules. Or even get your boogie on and get everyone up dancing. Some tips for the guest: Plan ahead. Bring a healthy option to share at the party, you are not only being hospitable but you will also know there is a healthier alternative for you to enjoy at the party Avoid going to your Christmas party on an empty stomach. Have a good quality snack before you leave. Low GI and protein containing options such a small tub of low fat yoghurt is perfect because they tend to keep you feeling fuller for longer Stack your plate right. As a guide aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies or salad, a quarter with lean meat or protein options (e.g. turkey or chicken breast without skin) and the remaining quarter with nutritious carbohydrate (e.g. grainy bread roll, pasta, roast potato etc.) – any extra vegetables will help fill you up without over doing it on the kilojoules Volunteer to be designated driver. Remember over indulging when it comes to alcohol can give us a bucket load of kilojoules. If you are drinking aim for no more than 2 standard drinks in a day and try spacing these out with non-alcoholic, low kilojoule options. Remember Christmas comes once a year if you do indulge a little more than normal don’t be too hard on yourself. The important thing is to get back on track and back to your healthier routine. Remember small changes add up to big differences over all! Swap this With thisAnd save…2 Candy cane20 cherries120kJFruit cake (medium slice) with custardMini pavlova topped with raspberries and low fat yoghurt1,138kJBeer (schooner)Low alcohol beer (middy)390kJPotato crisps with french onion dipVegetable sticks with yoghurt dips e.g. tzatziki1,205kJPotato chipsAir-popped popcorn966kJTurkey leg w. skinTurkey breast without skin126kJPrawn cocktails with tartare sauceFresh prawns and sweet chilli sauce or lemon juice470kJCrackers with cheese dipToasted pita bread with salsa903kJTrifleA little Low fat ice cream and fruit salad261kJCreamy pasta saladSummer salad with low fat dressing337kJ Values based on Calorie King (Australia) data base: http://www.calorieking.com.au/ Click here for more tips on healthy eating.