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Balanced Bliss: embracing healthy choices during holidays

Hooray! The school holidays are around the corner!

Whether you are going on holiday or staying at home entertaining (or being entertained), this can be a daunting and challenging time to stay on your healthy eating regime as you are out of your normal routine. However, with a little bit of planning and mindfulness, it is possible to enjoy your holidays and still maintain a healthy diet.

For the most part, main meals tend to be quite nutritious and include protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. What I find tends to be the biggest problem is the snacking that happens before the main meal as this is where it is easy to grab unhealthy high fat treat foods such as crisps and crackers. If you are entertaining or on holiday with your family, it’s easier to have healthy options available.

However, if you are invited to someone’s house, this can be tricky. One thing that I is offer to bring the snacks or starter which means I am in control of what’s available!

Here are some delicious, healthy snack ideas (without sacrificing taste and flavour!):

  • Vegetable platter: This is a mixture of colour and texture. You can serve it with hummus, guacamole or my favourite creamy sesame seed dip (recipe below)

  • Meat balls: you can make them into bite size portions and serve with mustard, tomato sauce or your favourite condiment (recipe below)

  • Lean biltong sticks

  • Roasted nuts: you can buy raw nuts and roast them yourself. Their flavour comes out wonderfully

  • Seed crackers (low carb) with low fat cottage cheese and sweet chilli sauce

  • Homemade popcorn – yes the old fashioned way with a little oil in a pot! Microwave and readymade popcorn is still quite high in fat

  • Roasted cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic and rosemary served with a fresh baguette

  • If you are braaiing:

    • lean ‘skinny’ boerewors is quick to cook on the fire and can be served with mustard, tomato sauce and/or your favourite condiment

    • Lean back bacon and dried fruit on a stick

NOTE: As a bariatric patient, your portion sizes in general are a lot smaller. If you are having the vegetable platter, you can have protein and carbohydrate for your main meal. If you are having meat balls, your protein portion at the main meal may be a little smaller, and if you are having a carbohydrate as a starter i.e. homemade popcorn or the tomatoes on the baguette, you will not have a carbohydrate at your main meal. This means all your nutritional requirements have still been met!

Staying properly hydrated and doing activity is just as important to your overall health.

So make sure you still sip on your water throughout the day and do some activity like going for a walk in the park and playing with your children. Remember this is also a time for you to relax and recharge. Planning will make you less worried about what you can and can’t eat so you can enjoy this time with your family and friends.

Here are some easy recipe ideas:

Creamy Sesame Seed Recipe:

¼ cup low fat/ fat free smooth cottage cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise (lite/ normal/ tangy mayonnaise all work well)

3 teaspoons of soya sauce

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

Meat ball recipe:

500g lean mince

1 cup (250ml) low fat yogurt (I also do ½ cup low fat plain yogurt and ½ cup low fat smooth cottage if I want them a little more dense)

1 packet of hearty beef soup powder (any nice taste will work: Oxtail/ brown onion etc)

Optional: Herbs, garlic, grated onion

Mix well and leave for 5-10min to rest. Roll into balls, place on a greased baking tray and bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.

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