How To Stay Slim During The Holidays

Want to enjoy guilt-free meals this festive season? Read on- and there's a couple of recipes to help as well!

Take every opportunity to be with precious friends and family during this festive season and indulge yourself: A big Christmas feast will not hurt the average, healthy person, so do not feel the need to deprive yourself entirely.

However, do control your portion sizes, eat in moderation and go for the healthier choices in order to stave off any festive weight gain.

If you have children, this is a time when you can set a good example for healthy eating.

Parents play a critical role in inculcating good eating habits. Helping your child make better food choices now will have a big impact on their health and quality of life in the future.

Here are some healthy eating tips for the festive season:

1 EAT REGULAR MEALS

Do not starve yourself in anticipation of a bigger meal or buffet as you will tend to eat more than you intended, advises a spokesman for the Health Promotion Board (HPB). You will also find it harder to make healthier food choices if you are very hungry.

2 EAT AND DRINK MINDFULLY

Instead of going for large amounts of food, take the time to savour every bite. This is a much more sustainable way of surviving the festive feasting than going on a binge, famine or diet cycle, said Mr Derrick Ong, director of nutrition consultancy Eat Right.

Mr Lim Kiat, a senior nutritionist with the Singapore Heart Foundation, suggested that you pay attention to the appearance, taste, aroma, texture and even the sound of munching of food. This gives your body enough time to send the message to your brain that you are satiated and prevent you from overeating, he said.

3 FOCUS ON QUALITY

You do not have to eat everything at a party. Just choose three to five of the most appealing items, said the HPB spokesman. And go for smaller portions as many festive food items are likely to be laden with calories.

Studies suggest that using a smaller dining plate can reduce your food intake by up to 22 per cent, said Mr Lim.

4 GO FOR MORE HIGH-FIBRE FOODS

Vegetables and wholegrains are good for your health and will add bulk to your diet. This can give the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time and prevent overeating, said the HPB spokesman.

5 OPT FOR WATER

Wherever possible, choose water over sweet drinks, which are a source of empty calories, said the spokesman.

Alcoholic drinks, which are often served during this period, are also a concentrated source of calories.

Related: Decadent Yet Health Roast Meat Recipes!


Healthy Recipes For The Holiday Season

SPINACH & CHEESE QUICHE

Prep time: 10min

Cook time:30min

INGREDIENTS

1 large bunch baby spinach (100g) (can replace with ¾ to 1 cup of other vegetables such as broccoli or frozen vegetables)

8 eggs

150g cherry tomatoes, halved or normal tomatoes, diced

1 cup (90g) grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ onion, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

2 slices wholemeal bread, chopped into pieces

1 cup (250ml) low-fat milk

Pepper, to taste

METHOD

• Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

• Roughly chop spinach leaves.

• Whisk eggs and pepper in a bowl until small bubbles appear.

• Add spinach, tomatoes, cheese, garlic, onion, milk and pepper to eggs. Stir well.

• Spoon mixture into prepared muffin holes. Press bread pieces into the mixture with the back of a spoon.

• Bake for 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.

• Cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Serve.

SERVES FOUR

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving)

Energy: 339kcal

Protein: 22.1g

Total fat: 20.9g

Carbohydrate: 15.9g

Dietary fibre: 2.7g

•Source: HPB


ORANGE CARROT CAKE

Prep time: 10min

Cook time: 45min

INGREDIENTS

12/3 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

½ cup sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar; Juice and zest of 1 orange

¼ cup of canola oil

2 carrots, grated

50g flaked almonds

METHOD

• Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C.

• Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

• Whisk the flour mixture.

• In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat eggs until blended.

• Add the sugars and beat for two minutes. On low speed, beat in the orange juice and oil.

• Add flour mixture. Stir in the carrots and orange zest.

• Pour batter into pan. Top with almonds.

• Bake for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 160 deg C and bake for another 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

• Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

SERVES 12

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving)

Energy: 201kcal

Protein: 3.7g

Total fat: 7.5g

Carbohydrate: 30.6g

Dietary fibre: 1.5g

•Source: HPB

Related: The 10 Best Power Foods For Men

Text by Joyce Teo, Straits Times

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'Enjoy festive food without guilt'.

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