Healthy holiday food hacks on the road, at home and when dining out


The holidays are almost here, and if you don't want to wake up in the New Year feeling woefully overindulgent, here are some healthy food hacks to help you enjoy good food without the guilt!

Christmas calls for family feasts and generous spreads. This year, a few simple considerations can ensure that you don't just have good food, but food that's good for you. Here are some handy tips and tricks to to help you eat healthily on the road, at home and when dining out:

Snacks to pack for a road trip or day out

Avoid the garage pie or roadside burger binge by preparing and packing healthier, easily accessible snacks for the journey:

  • Fresh fruit - protect your car seats by choosing fruits that aren't overly juicy or messy - pears, bananas, grapes and berries work well. Fruits are high in vitamins and antioxidants, and will keep your energy levels from dipping as you drive.
  • Raw veggies - carrot, celery and cucumber sticks are easy to eat and great to crunch on as you drive.
  • Unsalted nuts like almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein and minerals.
  • Heavy meals can make you sleepy on the roads, but homemade snack bars made of baked oats, dates and dried fruit are high in fibre and can keep you fuller for longer. Else, try this recipe for fruity bran muffins from the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio.

Remember to pack hand sanitiser, reusable or disposable cutlery, a plastic bag for rubbish, and wet wipes. Find more tips on preparing for long-distance trips here.

Hosting meals at your home

Hosting at home need not be stressful if you plan well and make food preparation an inclusive family affair. As you have more control over exactly what goes into your dishes, it's a great opportunity to include all kinds of healthy twists in your meals:

  • As far as possible, avoid highly processed snacks like fried chips. Replace these with healthier homemade baked vegetable options. Favour homemade hummus and mashed bean dips, cottage cheese or avocado instead of store-bought sauces and dips that are usually high in sugar and salt.
  • Replace highly refined white rolls or garlic bread with whole-wheat versions or, even better - with roasted veggies like sweet potato and butternut, baked aubergines and grilled sweetcorn.
  • Try some of these wonderful festive feasting recipes, courtesy of the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio. These side dishes (which include a tangy beetroot carpaccio and a creamy garlic white bean mash) have been developed with the professional expertise of Prue Leith Chef's Academy, so they're bound to astound your friends and family!
  • Encourage healthy drinking simply by not stocking many (if any) sugary beverages in your house. Dilute fruit juices to reduce the sugar content per serving; or mix with vegetable juices like cucumber or spinach. You can even experiment with some festive cocktails - healthy or alcohol-free versions of your favourites with less syrup and more fresh fruit. Make sure your guests always have cold jugs of water (infused with fruit and mint) or homemade iced tea within easy reach.

Dining out at a restaurant or buffet

Ever scan a restaurant menu and visualise all your good intentions of sticking to a healthy diet fly out the window? We've come up with seven handy ways to stay on track. Read how to avoid temptation when eating out here.

And if you're at a buffet, don't fill yourself with energy-dense treats first. For example, at a hotel breakfast, load your plate with more nutritious foods like scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms first. Eat slowly to give yourself enough time to feel full, and then, if you're still hungry, you can consider that croissant.

So go on - try these festive season food hacks to enjoy tasty meals without compromising your health, and start your 2018 with smart habits you'll be keen to keep up throughout the year!


Planning a Christmas party? Save on healthy ingredients!

Save when you treat your guests to a feast this Christmas by activating the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood benefit.

The benefit offers you up to 10% cash back on healthy groceries at Pick n Pay and Woolworths. Then find out your Vitality Age and do a Vitality Health Check to increase your cash back to up to 25% at your main partner.

If you haven't yet joined Vitality - what are you waiting for? There's no better time to start a healthier lifestyle than now.

Click here to get rewarded for making healthy choices!

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