“We’re going to have a healthy Christmas this year!”

Often when we speak these words, our heart’s not in it, as this simple statement seems to threaten all that is delightful about Christmas. What is Christmas without a leg of ham, platters of your favourite cheeses and summer fruit desserts? Christmas is the edible ‘greatest hits’ collection that feeds the stomach and soothes the soul. It’s the culinary equivalent of jumping into a cold pool on a scorching summer day.

Once you’ve volunteered (or been assigned) to be the host of Christmas lunch this year, how do you go about planning a healthier Christmas that will satisfy the whole family? How do you reconcile your health goals with hungry guests who are expecting and even demanding all the Christmas classics?

Set the Mood

Eating, like many things we do, is tied to our emotions. You’ve heard the phrase ‘eating your feelings’ before, so be sure to set a nice calm and relaxing environment so that your guests don’t feel stressed or anxious because that’s the moment they’ll look to chocolate and cheese for comfort food.

As the host, you can make your party more relaxing by dimming the lights and playing some background music. Better (and easier) yet, have Ionix® Supreme on hand for your guests and let the unique blend of adaptogens do the job for you.

Create Food-Free Zones

Two main contributors to mindless eating are proximity and visibility. If your guests are sitting at the dining table staring at a glorious spread of food, you’re checking off both boxes and putting them in prime position to overindulge.

The solution? Keep all the food together in one area where guests can make their plates and then create a food-free zone where the socialising and eating can take place. For example, if everyone will be eating at the dining room table, set up a buffet line in the kitchen.

The goal in this setup is for your guests to start having fun socialising and either forget about going back for seconds or at the very least, think twice about it because it’s not right in front of them.

Manipulate Supply and Demand

You’ve definitely done this before: Step up to serve yourself from a platter of food, quickly glance around to see who hasn’t served themselves from the platter, and then help yourself what you think is a fair portion.

Yep, that’s supply and demand. You perceive a certain amount of food, which creates a proportional demand in your mind to be fair to the other guests.

As the host, you can exploit this by serving the higher calorie foods like pasta salad, stuffing or mashed potatoes in smaller bowls or platters while serving vegetables in larger ones. It’s subtle, but what you’re doing is creating less demand for the unhealthier food and more need for the good stuff.

Use Smaller Plates

You’ve probably heard that using smaller plates is a great way to reduce calories. That little trick has less to do with making it difficult to pile your plate with food and more to do with the fact that we’re terrible at estimating serving sizes. As it turns out, we need clues like the size of our plates to figure out what an appropriate serving is.

All of which is to say, swap out those plates, even if it means using paper plates (if anyone gets judgy about eating on paper plates, offer to let them do the dishes!).

Don’t Let Leftovers Hijack Your Health Kick

Here’s the thing, the Christmas and New Year’s period comes and goes in a flash. The last thing we want is for you to miss out on all the seasonal favourites, so it’s okay to treat your taste buds. But, with the usual abundance of leftovers, it can be astonishingly easy to continue indulging past the silly season’s use by date.

December is all about gift giving, right? Encourage your guests to take home as many leftovers as possible. Not only will that spread Christmas cheer, but it will also help you keep on track with your health and wellness goals.

In a nutshell, these are the simple and easy tips to host a healthy Christmas this season. If you happen to let your cravings get the better of you (it happens to the best of us), you can hit the restart button with a nutritional Cleanse Day! Join the Isagenix ANZ community for our CleANZe Day and kick-start your New Year health goals.