Health-e Holiday Eating ― Each holiday season we look at sensible eating choices for residents and those on a Bali Christmas vacation. Here are some recommendations to keep the waistline trim while indulging in paradise.
LISTEN CAREFULLY TO YOU
Just learn how to eat sensibly by following not just your “gut” feelings. Don’t think about what you want to eat. Feel what you need to eat. Then enjoy whatever your stomach cues you to eat, as long as you’re sure it’s not what your brain’s telling you to eat. And that’s really it! Listen to your body — but not the brain part of your body, the rest of it — and you’ll have a healthful holiday.
UNDERSTAND TRUE HUNGER
Before you take a bite of Christmas dinner, ask yourself, “Why am I eating?” Is it because your stomach’s growling or because it’s “time” to eat? Is it because you feel hunger pangs or because refusing to eat Christmas dinner would be “weird”? If your reasons for eating are anything aside from the early stages of malnutrition, put down your fork and wait until you’re truly grateful for even a small bite of food.
FOCUS ON FOOD
We all multitask when we eat, especially at the holidays so focus on food. Those non-meal distractions make it hard to register our body’s cues of fullness. Don’t mindlessly graze as you tablescape or scarf down your dinner while explaining to friends and family personal problems or work issues that have nothing to do with the plate in front of you. Make food your singular focus while eating.
CAREFUL WITH THE SMALL STUFF
Canapés and crisps can be really high in calories and fat so turn to fresh vegetables with low fat dips, and if you are entertaining, rather than putting out crisps, offer bowls of popcorn. Chestnuts, dates and satsumas also make healthy, seasonal snacks. Bali super market shopping is today better than it ever has been with heaps of choice (consider Grand Lucky on Sunset Road).
OPT FOR TURKEY
The main event is Christmas dinner and although it’s never going to be a low calorie affair, there are ways of making it a healthier meal. Whatever bird you choose—duck, chicken, goose or turkey—they all are rich in protein and fat-soluble vitamins but turkey is the leaner meat and possibly the healthier option with significantly less fat than an Ubud harvested duck.
ORGANIC VEG FROM BEDUGAL
People often eat the most vegetables in the week when they have a roast, so Christmas dinner is an ideal time for eating lots of veg but be sure they’re cooked healthily. When you cook veggies, cook them in the minimum amount of time with the minimum amount of water and use the cooking water to make gravy with, because then it’s like eating soup. You get all the goodness out of it.
DESSERT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE UNHEALTHY
While traditional Christmas pudding is high in calories, it is also a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Just keep your portion size under control and don’t go adding brandy butter or cream. Try custard or half-fat crème fraiche instead. If you’re having something rich and creamy, have an alternative like a big bowl of fruit salad.