The countdown is on to the Melbourne Cup and you’ve been super focused on your training and diet so you can step out onto the glamour of the track to show off your new slimmer new waistline. But how can you possibly get around the free flowing champas and delicious looking canapés while at the same time keeping belly bloat at bay and sticking to your diet?
Well the secret to being successful on a day like this is to have a firm plan in place heading into the Cup Carnival festivities – and it’s one that has been tried and tested by many of my clients so just know it works.!
My two biggest tips to ensure you stay on the horse this Melbourne Cup day are:
- Enjoy a full, healthy meal of salad or vegies and protein before heading out. Don’t rely on party food to be your main meal!
- Allow yourself to enjoy a few carb-conscious canapés – and even a glass of champagne – as part of the celebrations. When choosing the correct canapés, stick to chicken or beef skewers, stuffed mushrooms and carrot & celery sticks with dip.
Remember the key to any successful lifestyle change is MODERATION. While you may be sticking to a healthier eating plan on most days, certain occasions call for a bit of relaxation, oftentimes in the form of alcohol. While alcohol is fat-free and low in carbs, it’s important to remember that it’s the calories that count when it comes to managing your weight.
As you know, alcohol and dieting don’t mix well—your body processes alcohol first, leaving carbohydrates and fats to get stored as fat instead of getting used as fuel. Even if you are careful about your alcohol consumption, all drinks are not created equal on the dieting scale and some choices are better than others.
The most diet-friendly choice is…. drum roll please…. Wine! If you’re going to drink, wine is the most calorie-friendly selection with a typical 100 calories per glass, with no cholesterol, sodium or fat. This is true for both red and white wine, from merlot to chardonnay.
Hard liquor is higher in calories than wine, and is often mixed with soda, which increases the calorie count. If you’re going to drink liquor, use calorie-free mixers like diet soda or diet tonic water. Once you start mixing liquor with juice and other sweeteners to create cocktails, both calories and carbs can go up significantly.
Beer is the next best choice for dieters with, about 150 calories per 350ml serving. Choosing light beers will drop your caloric intake without sacrificing much flavor, but keep in mind that it can be hard to estimate your intake when pouring from a pitcher or into an oversized beer mug (not very lady like!).
If you watch your calories carefully, you can safely afford to have a drink or two on a special occasion like the Melbourne Cup. But beware—drinking loosens your inhibitions and can lead to eating without thinking. From a health standpoint, calories aren’t the only thing to consider. Practice moderation (no more than one drink daily for women) and consider other potential health benefits of different types of alcohol.
Most health experts recommend the following hierarchy when choosing alcohol based on potential health benefits (such as antioxidant content):
- choose red wine over white wine
- choose wine over beer
- darker-colored beers over lighter-colored beers
- and choose beer over liquor and liqueur
Happy Melbourne Cup everyone!! I hope you back a winner 🙂