Savour the season: Balancing delightful flavours with mindful choices

This is a joyous time of year, filled with loads of festivities, family reunions, and, of course, delicious temptations! It’s only natural to want to indulge in everything the holidays have to offer, but the thought of undoing all the wellness progress you’ve put in throughout the year can be off-putting.

Luckily, there are many different ways to excite your senses without feeling like you’re missing out. A nutritious balanced meal doesn’t have to be drab. Creating balance in your diet is essentially about eating the right mix of foods that contain beneficial vitamins and minerals to fuel your body – in a delicious way.

Concerned your yummy spread from last year wasn’t exactly balanced? Feeling guilty about overdoing it on potato salad flooded with mayo and sticky puddings dripping with toffee sauce? Make a few changes this year, and you can enjoy all the festive treats (guilt-free), while getting in those greens and good proteins. Here are some tips to finding the balance between festive feasting and mindfulness in the kitchen.

Plan meals more consciously
Meals are more commonly planned around the main protein. A big piece of gammon, roast chicken, or vegetarian options like nuts and legumes are all holiday favourites. From here, think about the cooking process. Do the meats need to be crumbed and deep-fried, or can they be cooked in the oven or an air fryer with minimal oil? Once you’ve decided on a more healthy cooking method, move on to the sides.

South Africans love starch in all its forms. From a slice of thick homemade bread with butter to mashed potatoes and fritters, we always find a way to sneak carbohydrates onto our plates. While you might think these foods are essential for a festive dinner, they don’t have to be. Fruits and veggies are also forms of carbs that fill you up and add better balance to your plate. Again, be mindful of how you prepare these foods. The broccoli probably doesn’t need to swim in a cheese sauce and the loaded potatoes don’t need that extra helping of sour cream.

Add a colourful touch to dishes
Now that you have a little more understanding of mindful food planning, think of ways to jazz it up. The protein will probably have a brown or beige colour and, although delicious, won’t add much colour pizazz to the plate. Steam some carrots, roast zucchinis and green peppers, or mash sweet potatoes to bring the plate to life. A fresh garden salad with beetroot strips and pecan nuts will also liven up the table.

Enjoy sweet treats guilt-free
For dessert, take advantage of seasonal fruits and berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. A bowl of strawberries, melon, grapes, and pineapple can be a delicious end to any meal. For a more indulgent take, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt.

Fight the cravings to indulge in both colourful and balanced meals. All it takes is a little mindfulness and consideration as to what you put into your body. This type of thinking not only encourages more mindful meal planning but is the first step to following a balanced diet – no matter the time of year.

For more insightful articles and even recipes to try this festive season, visit Herbalife also has a product for every nutrition and wellness need, including fragrant teas to serve before guests go home, snacks to fill the gap between courses, and shakes to sip on while you’re rushing around the kitchen getting everything ready. Start your journey towards a more balanced life with Herbalife.