Author: Katie Lyons - Strong Formula Leading Nutritionist

 

IT’S OFFICIAL. The holiday season is here, woohoo!

Starting this week, we can brace ourselves for a month of parties, feasts, festivities, and holidays, but it can also be scary, especially for health-conscious people like us.

So, I’m making a plan!

Even though my number one philosophy is that life should be grand and you should not restrict yourself from things you enjoy, it can be helpful to enter the holidays with a plan to keep your lifestyle in healthy balance as you continue to focus on managing those menopausal symptoms. 

These are the steps I personally take to make sure I don’t begin the new year trying to make amends for the month that has gone by. 

 

Kick stressful thoughts out the door

First and foremost, embrace a mindset of growth and learning. This means remembering that your food choices don’t equal your value as a person, and staying positive even when things don’t go exactly as you plan. 

The holidays are challenging for everyone on the eating front, and self-compassion goes a long way toward letting you come out healthy and happy on the other side.

In short, don’t let one or two frustrating events spoil the entire season.

Pick your battles

Be realistic about what you can and can’t tackle. While, “I’m not going to eat a cookie for the entire holidays” is unrealistic for most of us, “I’m not going to eat any cookies at the office” is entirely doable.

Have a good look at your calendar and evaluate which events are worth a bit of a food splurge. You can use whatever criteria you want for this, from the quality of the food to its sentimental value.

What’s important is that it’s worth it to you. 

Two special occasions per month is a reasonable target. You can dial this slightly up or down depending on your goals and how important the holidays are to you, but if you’re celebrating multiple times a week, it could be problematic.

Once you have chosen your truly special occasions, don’t worry about them anymore. Look forward to enjoying them guilt-free. We’ll use the following steps to make sure the impact is minimal.

Now, the Plan Stan

Now that you’ve chosen what is worth splurging on, you have also decided what isn’t. For me, this is work-related events. I love them, but food is not the focus for me when mingling with clients! When these are events that I can’t gracefully opt out of, it’s important that I know what my plan will be before heading in.

Always remember that food isn’t the reason you’re attending and try to focus on people and activities instead. That said, when planning for food, there are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • For shorter, cocktail hour-type gatherings, my priorities are making sure I eat beforehand or making concrete dinner plans afterward. That way a glass of wine or two won’t trick me into believing that sub-par food is my only option.
  • For longer events and dinners where escaping food is impossible, I optimise my food choices for health and make peace with the fact that this won’t be the most rewarding meal of my life.
  • In these cases, my number one priority is eating vegetables. I try to fill up on as many as I can, so at least the evening isn’t a net loss health-wise. My second priority is eating some kind of protein or meat, so I’m satisfied enough to avoid the uninspiring desserts that will 100%, without a doubt, appear later.
  • Finally, at events like this, I stick to lower alcohol drinks (e.g. white wines, lighter beers) and completely avoid cocktails, which are often as sweet as soda. 

Aviiana Approved Recipes

If you are going to indulge in a cocktail, why don't you consider making it yourself? Here are some cocktail recipes from The Big Man’s World that you can try!

How to make sugar free simple syrup?

This simple syrup is a low carb and sugar free take on the cocktail and beverage addition! Made with just 2 ingredients, it’s perfect for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks! 2 grams net carbs per serving. This syrup is so simple to make, and you’ll add it to more than just cocktails. It’s great in coffee, hot drinks, and smoothies!

The ingredients

  • Granulated sweetener of choice– I highly recommend allulose, as it dissolves exactly as sugar does. However, if you don’t have any on hand, erythritol or Splenda can also be used. 
  • Water– Room temperature water. 
  • Xanthan gum– Optional, but a dash will thicken the syrup beautifully. 

Instructions - start by adding the sweetener and water into a small saucepan and place it over low heat. Stir it gently, while it dissolves, and allow it to heat up until it begins to simmer. If using the xanthan gum, add it here and whisk well, until dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Flavour variations

  • Ginger– Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger extract. 
  • Rose– Whisk through 1/2 teaspoon rosewater extract once the simple syrup has cooled. 
  • Mint– Add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and add fresh mint leaves once the syrup has cooled. 
  • Lavender– Fold through 1/2 teaspoon lavender extract halfway through the simmering stage. 
  • Vanilla– Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla bean pod. 

4 x Low calorie cocktail options

Here are the specific ingredients for each of the 4 cocktails. 

 

 

Espresso Martini

  • Espresso or cold brew– Either 30 ml of freshly brewed espresso (one espresso capsule) or cold brew
    • Vodka
    • Vanilla extract
    • Sugar free simple syrup

    A traditional espresso martini has 230 calories and 25 grams of sugar. This low calorie version has just 98 calories and 0 grams of sugar. That is a saving of over 130 calories. 

    Long Island Iced Tea

    • Vodka
    • Rum
    • Tequila
    • Gin
    • Orange extract– Replaces the need for triple sec. 
    • Sugar free simple syrup
    • Lemon juice
    • Diet cola

    A traditional Long Island Iced Tea has 220 calories and 23 grams of sugar, but this low calorie Long Island Iced Tea has just 120 calories and 0 grams of sugar. That is a saving of 100 calories each. 

    Margarita

    • Sugar free maple syrup– Adds a better flavour than the simple syrup for this particular cocktail.
    • Tequila
    • Lime and lemon juice
    • Sparkling water

    A standard margarita has around 250 calories and 32 grams of sugar. This low calorie or skinny margarita has just 100 calories and 1 gram of sugar. That is a saving of 150 calories. 

    Mojito

    • Club soda
    • Lime
    • Sugar free simple syrup
    • Rum
    • Fresh mint

    A classic mojito has 240 calories and over 30 grams of sugar. This low calorie mojito has just 95 calories per standard drink and zero grams of sugar. That is a saving of over 145 calories.

    Have a try at making a couple and feel free to let me know what you think! Drop us a message on Facebook or Instagram.

     

    Now you're armed with a plan and ready to enjoy the festivities ahead!

     

    Merry Christmas, sistas. You know how much we love the Aviiana Wellness App, so as dorky as it sounds, we miss you already and can’t wait to smash our goals in 2023! 🖤

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