WAIS Nutrition: Season's Eatings!

Sports Nutrition | Published: Thu 14 December 2017

The Christmas period can be a challenge for everyone when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. With so many tempting foods and drinks around it is often difficult to say no. WAIS Nutritionist, Terreen Stenvers has taken this into consideration and helped us all out by providing a few tips on how we can stay healthy this festive season!

Celebrate smart this festive season, even when socializing with friends and family, by using a little know how and planning. Here are some festive food and drink tips to help you make choices that support your athletic goals over the festive season. You can enjoy your favourite festive foods in smaller portions, make healthy substitutions where you can and plan ahead for merry meals that are healthy too.

Tip #1 - Include lots of seasonal, colourful fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables will add flavor, colour and nutrients to your festive favourites. They will help you fill fuller for longer, helping to avoid the temptation of overeating. They are low in kilojoules, so especially useful for lower activity days. Seasonal examples include cherries, mangos, berries, stone fruits, avocados and asparagus.
Tip #2 - Slash unwanted calories with easy swaps and substitutions. 
Know where excess kilojoules, saturated fat and added sugars are hiding in traditional holiday foods and beverages and plan to have some swaps or to avoid them. When eating out, avoid foods that are described as buttered, cheesy, battered, smothered or fried and opt for dishes that are baked, grilled, sautéed or steamed.
When snacking choose salsa with vegetable crudites, a crunchy fresh apple, celery filled with peanut butter or a boiled egg rolled in dukkha over processed snack foods. 
Substitute these lovely lower kilojoule festive snacks for other kilojoule laden Christmas nibbles;
Melon and Prosciutto Skewers (Makes 35, in 45 minutes)
1/4 Seedless Watermelon
1 small Honeydew Melon, halved, seeded
200g large Red Seedless Grapes
1x125g punnet Raspberries
1x220g tub Cherry Bocconcini, well drained
120g thinly sliced Prosciutto, torn into pieces
1 cup Mint Leaves
35 Wooden Skewers 
1. Use a melon baller to make fruit balls from watermelon and honeydew melon.
2. Thread melon, grapes, raspberries, bocconcini, prosciutto and mint leaves alternately onto the wooden skewers.
3. Arrange skewers on a platter, serve. 
Prawn Cocktail Bites (Makes 32, in 30 minutes)
1 small Fennel Bulb, finely shaved
Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
1 tablespoon chopped Dill or Lemon Thyme Leaves
30g Baby Rocket
250g peeled Baby School Prawns (*If baby school prawns are unavailable, use small or medium king prawns and cut them in half down the centre.)
32 large Round Corn Chips
Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup Reduced-Fat Greek-Style Yoghurt
2 tablespoons Store-Bought Garlic Aioli 
2 tablespoons Reduced-Sugar Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1. Combine fennel, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and dill or thyme in a large bowl and season. Add rocket and prawns; toss mixture to combine.
2. Make cocktail sauce: whisk all ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
3. Place the corn chips on a serving plate. Top the chips with small piles of prawn mixture. Drizzle with the cocktail sauce and season with salt and pepper.
(Recipes c/o Australian Healthy Food Guide Magazine, December 2017 Issue) 
Tip #3 - Eat without distraction, eat slowly and mindfully.
You can enjoy your favourite foods in moderation. Eating slowly and chewing well will allow you to enjoy it more and know when you are actually full. To do this well you need to pay attention and it is best to eat without and distraction. Avoid eating in front of the TV, while standing up or using your phone.
Tip #4 - A Happy New Cheers!
Before you raise your glass this festive season, consider the healthiest and safest way to celebrate the festive season. Alcohol is brimming with twice as many kilojoules as carbs or protein and it has very little nutritional value. Aim to stay well hydrated and alternate between alcoholic drinks and a glass of water or sparkling soda water. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach and avoid skipping meals during the day to 'save' your kilojoules for drinking.
Check out the infographic below which contains all the basics you need to remember this festive season;