How to Stay Healthy During the Festive Period

An important Q&A

by Parents and Kids | Fri, December 22, 2017

We talk to Nutritionist Quan Trang from Yosemite Clinic about how to stay as healthy as possible during, and after the holiday season.stay on track.

Can you tell us the best way to get back on track diet-wise after the festive period?

There are lots of things you can do to get back on track, and to stay on track:

  • Staying mindful and realistic are key. Feeling regrets can hold you back and can lead to you to giving up on your weight loss goal. If you gain 1-2 pounds while enjoying the holidays, accept it and move on.
  • Stock up and keep healthy foods visible. Leftovers are tempting, so make sure you have healthy alternatives around to keep you from over-doing the holiday treats. Covering and storing leftovers out of sight can help keep it out of your mind. Keep healthy food in front so its the first thing you see when you open the fridge.
  • Don’t pick at leftovers from the fridge as your brain won’t register how much you are eating. If you are going to eat more treats, make a small plate and sit down and eat so your brain can process what and how much you are consuming.
  • Be realistic and don’t try to lose weight over the holidays – it is just not possible. Instead, try to maintain your weight throughout the holidays and continue your weight loss after New Year's.

Many people go on "fad diets" by cutting out foods like carbohydrates in a bid to lose weight quickly. Is this ever a good idea?

A confusion about nutrition is why fad diets exist. I am a big advocate of eating sensibly, exercising more, and promoting life-long changes to keep the weight off and to stay healthy. Fad diets tend to appeal more to people's vanity over their desire to stay healthy. People embarking on a fad diet want a quick way to lose inches and pounds, and aren’t necessarily thinking about the risk of diabetes or heart disease.

Are fruit juices and smoothies as good for us as we're led to believe?

There has been a shift from sugary beverages to fresh juice and smoothies. Juices and smoothies are time savers and good ways to get fruit and vegetables in your diet. However, juice has less fiber than whole fruit or vegetables, and smoothies can pack in calories if you’re not careful.

Orange Juice

Some people limit calorie intake on certain days (the 5:2 diet). Is this safe? And does it work?

Low calorie dieters are looking for a quick way to lose weight. A low calorie diet promises rapid weight loss but most of that’s going to be fluid. Also, a low calorie diet can slow your metabolism, make you lose muscle mass, and may leave you dehydrated. Research has shown that it is almost impossible to lose more than 1-2 pounds (0.5-1kg) of fat per week so slow and steady weight loss is always best.

Are there certain foods that we should cut down on, or cut out altogether such as red meat?

I am a big believer of a balanced diet that encourages healthy choices and I love a variety of food in my diet. Having a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and a heart condition. I wouldn’t cut anything out but instead, limit unhealthy food such as food high in sugar and saturated fats. Don’t splurge on your unhealthy foods but don’t make yourself miserable either!

Red Meat

How bad is alcohol for our general health and fitness? Obviously we should limit intake, but what is a healthy amount?

I always feel like this is a tricky question since I love wine! What is known is that alcohol can slightly increase HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol, and grape skin in wine contains antioxidants. However, it is not recommended to gain these potential benefits by drinking. The general recommendation is an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. We consider a drink to be 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits. Drinking more than this can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart failure, and of course increases your calorie intake.