Tips for a healthy Australia Day from a dietitian
Celebrate Australia Day in style while still staying on track with your goals.
We’ve teamed up with one of our resident dietitians, Larissa Robbins to provide you with some healthy hacks to avoid over-indulging this Australia Day.
Whether it’s dodging the sausage sizzles and lamingtons or avoiding too many drinks with friends, we all know how hard it can be to fight temptation at Australia Day celebrations and barbecues. So, if you’re trying to stick to your new year’s resolution to eat healthily or lose weight, we or want to start the year off eating well, we have some great tips to help you stay on track.
Start your day with exercise
Start the day with a morning workout to set yourself up for success. Exercise will help put you in a positive frame of mind and help you keep up your healthy efforts during the day.
If you’re attending a barbecue for lunch, make sure you have a healthy and filling breakfast before you go to help you eat more mindfully and to help avoid excessive grazing. Skipping breakfast will cause your hunger to build up, and by lunchtime, you’ll most likely be starving and eat more than you should.
Snag the perfect protein
Australia Day isn’t complete without a barbecue, and the good news is it can be a healthy option. Traditional barbecue sausages, lamb chops, and store-bought burger patties can contain as much as 20-30g of fat per serve. And as we eat more than we would usually at a barbecue, the calories can add up. Fish and prawns are lower in calories, which means you can swap out some of the unhealthier options. Other options include making your own kebab skewers using chicken breast and plenty of veggies or try making your own patties using lean mince.
Choose healthy options
When filling your plate, choose wisely and focus on healthy proteins and lots of veggies. Skip the creamy potato salad and coleslaw and fill up on salads packed with leafy greens and avoid anything fried or overly processed. Bring along some of your own healthy plates of food so you know there will be some healthy options for you to enjoy
Limit your alcohol intake
It can be easy to drink more than you realise at social occasions, but alcohol can have a significant impact on your weight loss and health goals. Alcohol contains more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrate! If consuming alcohol, opt for lower alcohol drinks, and choose calorie-free mixers such as soda water and fresh citrus. Pace yourself by drinking a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. Choose sparkling water, so you still feel like you’re part of the fun! Drinking plenty of water can also slow down your drinking and help you wake up feeling fresher the next day.
Portion control your plate
It is not uncommon to load up your plate at a social gathering with a few snags, a piece of steak and a kebab, which is 2-3 times the amount of protein (and calories) that we really need. Remain mindful of your portions and try and limit your meat to a palm size serving only. It is helpful to go for salads/vegetables first and try to fill up at least half of your plate before you go for the meat.
Focus on an outdoor activity
Plan a fun outdoor activity throughout the day as it will be less likely that you will drink and eat across the whole day, and it will keep you active. Play a game of cricket or tennis, or if you’re at the beach, have a swim or play a game of Frisbee. You could also go for a hike and pack a healthy picnic.
Treat yourself (in moderation)
There’s a high chance that someone will bring along a Pavlova or other Aussie favourites like Tim Tams or a packet of lamingtons. You don’t have to deprive yourself completely of these classic treats, but remember that it’s all about moderation. Have healthy snacks on hand during the day to ward off hunger attacks rather than reaching for another Tim Tam. Throw the arm over with a game of cricket to burn off the extra calories and get back on track the next day.