5 Steps to managing that Christmas buffet

So yesterday I finally got into the Christmas spirit and put up my Christmas tree – woohoo! I also went to my second Christmas gathering, where a friend had put on a fantastic buffet spread. It’s been a while since I shared some of my tips around eating habits so I thought I would share with you my top tips on managing those Christmas buffets without piling on the pounds this festive season.

1 – Remember you don’t have to eat everything!

Have a think about what you’re saying to yourself. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you need to try everything or it’ll be the end of the world (or something like that!). But how does this help you? What is more important to you at this point in time? Eating all of the food or managing your weight? If you’re thinking yes, it is more important to me to eat everything in front of me then simply skip to step 5, no problem!

However, if you don’t want to overindulge – maybe you’ve already had quite a few treats recently or you have several parties/meals etc in a short space of time – then ask yourself this question:

“How will I feel when I next step on the scales and my weight has shot up?”

Or fast forward to January when the party season is over and you’re finding your clothes are feeling a bit tight – how will you feel about that? Use that as a motivator and remind yourself that you don’t have to eat everything that’s in front of you.

2 – Prioritise your favourite foods

Before you start putting food on your plate, take some time to have a look at what’s on the table and pick out your favourites. Buffet/party foods can often be quite fatty/salty compared to your usual meal choices. Think about all those snacky foods like crisps, sausage rolls etc – they’re pretty moreish so you can end up racking up loads more Calories than if you had a standard meal, even if you have a similar sized portion to normal. If you take some time to think about what you’re doing you can still enjoy the goodies, but just pick a few of the things you like best rather than everything. There’s usually things like fruit or veg sticks that can help to add some bulk – try to have some of those as well to help you feel satisfied. Then try to take your time eating and enjoying the goodies rather than feeling guilty about having them.

Prioritise the goodies you like best – you don’t have to eat everything!

3 – Stick to your portions

It can be easy to get carried away at a buffet and pile your plate high. Hopefully by thinking about the previous two points then this one is obvious. Think about how much you’re putting on your plate – is the plate bigger than your normal plate? Do you really need to go back for seconds? Try to stick to what you initially put on your plate then once it’s gone put the plate away!

4 – Move away from the buffet table

It’s so easy to just stand by the table and absentmindedly pick at things like crisps or nuts. Without realising it you can end up having another meal’s worth of Calories by doing this. Try to sit as far away as you can, so you avoid the mindless picking and just focus on what you’ve put on your plate. If there’s something you really enjoyed and you want a bit more of then why not ask your host if you can take a few bits for lunch the next day instead of having a bit more today?

5 – Balance things out the next day

I have to admit that I always end up overindulging at these things – I love all the snacky bits and end up going for seconds too! So, this point is the main thing I myself focus on. If you really listen to your body the day after overeating, then you’ll realise you don’t need to eat quite so much. You can do various things to balance it out. You could reduce your portions a bit more than normal – really try to listen to your appetite! Never skip meals of course, but could you have one less potato or a spoonful less rice or just trim everything down a tiny bit at each meal? Or another thing you can do is try to avoid all of the treat foods for a day or two. Say for example you normally have a hot chocolate every Monday and a packet of crisps every Tuesday, but you’ve had a three-course meal this Saturday, then you could drop these little extras (the hot choc & crisps) just this week. Alternatively, you could try to increase your physical activity – go for a longer walk or do an extra exercise class this week. Or even better, you could do a bit of everything – up the exercise, reduce the portions AND drop the treats for a few days! Just keep listening to your body and making sure you’re getting a good balance of the things you need as well.

I hope those tips help you. Have a lovely Christmas and a positive New Year and remember, above all things, enjoy your food!

If you’re a mum and you’d like a bit more help and support with your eating then check out my new Facebook group “Mums In Control”. It’s just for mums like you who want to feel in control of their eating and feel better about themselves. I’ll be sharing loads of info about how to manage your weight without the need for faddy or strict dieting, as well as all my favourite tips for building your confidence and self-esteem. Click here to join us – I look forward to connecting with you!

Louise Tanner-Stokes
Hi I'm Louise, a Food Relationship Coach and registered Dietitian with a passion for helping mums to ditch dieting forever. I help you to eat normally again, enjoy your food and still lose weight.

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