Do you love to celebrate with food? Unfortunately, such celebrations can take a toll on one’s waistline. Learn how to find the right balance between enjoyable indulgence and healthy moderation.
By Jules Clancy
1. Make it yourself.
The beauty of making it yourself is that it limits the amount you can make (and eat).
But more importantly, by cooking at home you aren’t restricted by arbitrary profit margins, like junk food factories. This means you can usually afford to use the best quality ingredients, which are often the healthiest options. Or if you choose not to, at least you know exactly what went into your indulgent treat.
2. Minimise kitchen ‘picking’.
Don’t you hate when you spend hours in the kitchen, picking at things here and there only to sit down to your meal and not feel like eating anything because you’re stuffed? This happens to me all the time so I’ve been experimenting with ways to avoid this cook’s treats curse.
My sister gave me a brilliant idea. She always has fresh vegetables chopped in the fridge ready for emergency snacking. When she walks into the kitchen to prepare dinner and is tired and super hungry, she chomps on carrots, celery or snow peas instead of filling up on tasting whatever she’s cooking.
My other approach is to make sure I have a proper breakfast before I start cooking so I hopefully avoid having an empty stomach eroding my willpower.
3. Watch your plate sizes.
You know the old ‘dieters’ trick to use smaller plates because the same amount of food will look like a more generous serving than the same amount served on a larger plate. This simple optical illusion does make a difference. So keep your plates small.
4. Be careful of serving ‘family style’.
When there is loads of delicious food in the middle of the table, it’s so easy to keep going back for more and completely over do it. There are two ways to avoid this old chestnut.
First is to only serve healthy things in the middle like big salads and veggies, and plate up the indulgent items individually. Leave leftovers in the kitchen so it’s more of an effort to go back for seconds.
But if you’re like me and you prefer to let everyone serve themselves, the other approach is to serve yourself everything you want to eat first. Lay it out on your place before you start eating. And then only refill your plate once that food is all gone and you’re sure you won’t be overdoing things by having more. Not as easy to master as the first strategy, but at least this way you can keep track of how much you’re actually eating.
5. Be mindful of your mouthful.