• If you have been invited to a friend’s house for a meal, offer to take a big green salad. How many times have you arrived, only to find a miniscule offering of green stuff? At least if you take a decent sized salad you know there is something you can fill your plate with.
  • There are plenty of options for healthy nibbles. Remember, if you are having nibbles before dinner, together with drinks and then dinner – that is the equivalent of 3-4 dinners in the space of time that you would probably only eat one meal.Nibbles can be a real trap. Don’t feel you have to say Yes each time the platter is passed around and don’t sit near the table where the platters are! The closer you sit, the more you pick.
  • Decide before you go out whether you are you going to drink alcohol and if so, set yourself a limit. If you are invited to a few functions you might want to choose those at which you will drink alcohol and take sparkling water or similar to the other ones. If you are drinking alcohol more than a couple of nights per week, especially if you aren’t exercising most days of the week, you will most likely top up your fat cells.
  • Don’t arrive thirsty and then use alcohol to quench your thirst. Make sure you are well hydrated before you arrive and take non-alcoholic drinks with you, if you aren’t sure what is on offer. Cider is full of sugar, so it isn’t a better alternative to wine.
  • If you have guests coming, why not make up a big jug of iced water and fill it up with chopped fruit. Lemons/limes/strawberries/grapes/mint leaves and ice cubes. It looks great and is calorie and guilt free. You can also freeze chopped fruit, blueberries and grapes and use them as ice cubes.

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  • Just because you are on holiday it doesn’t mean you are on a holiday from portion control, exercise and good sense. Of course you can eat whatever you want on Xmas Day, but if you want to minimise the damage to your waistline, then you will need to keep the above things in mind the rest of the time.
  • Get rid of leftovers. It’s fine to have leftover cold meats and healthy salads, but leftover truffles, pavlova and desserts are just asking to be eaten for as long as they are in your fridge. If Christmas dinner is at your house then try to get guests to take home anything you don’t want left behind to be tempted by. If you are going to someone else’s house and taking a special dessert, leave it in their fridge!
  • Ask now if you don’t want family or friends to give you treats for Christmas. Don’t leave it until the last minute to say anything. Any excess boxed treats that you don’t want hanging around can be re-gifted or left at a rest home, the Salvation Army or another charity.
  • Remember to exercise your No muscle!  The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Lynda Smith is a Member of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand and part of the VitalSure team.