Festive Season Survival Tips
As we move towards the Summer months and the Festive Season, most of us notice that the world around us (and possibly within as well!) gets a little more frenetic. The year is coming to a close and for those of us that celebrate it, Christmas is fast approaching. This year, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the way we celebrate will be a little different. There are end of year parties to attend and more social gatherings than usual. If you are celebrating Christmas there may be gifts to buy, and if you’re hosting a party there is planning and cooking to be done, as well as ensuring that the Department of Health and official Government directions are met in terms of number of guest at Christmas parties/functions and social distancing requirements are adhered to.
We often get caught up looking after others around us. Remember, that for you to be functioning at your best you need to look after yourself too (all of the time, but for many of us this is harder than usual at this time of year). This means taking time out for yourself when you need to – this might be maintaining your usual exercise regimen (or starting a gentle exercise regimen), or it might mean taking time out for a short walk in your lunch break or even just 5 minutes for some quiet, deep breathing to calm and centre yourself. It can also mean taking the time to eat well and avoid convenience foods as much as possible. Getting enough sleep is really important – so make sure that you do not burn the candle at both ends.
Look after your health and adhere to good hygiene practices. Wash your hands regularly, and carry hand sanitiser with you to use when hand washing facilities are not readily accessible. Wear a face mask if wish when going out into crowded areas.
Party food can be tasty and indulgent – so enjoy it in moderation! It can also often be energy dense and nutrient poor, so enjoy the foods you love, but skip the foods you don’t. Don’t eat the cheezels or the party pies just because they are there if you don’t particularly love those foods. Wait for your favourite things to come out and enjoy them when they do.
If you are hosting an event this year, make sure to limit guests to fit with the COVID-19 restrictions set by the Department of Health. Ensure that surfaces are cleaned and that guests have access to hand washing facilities. If you are attending an event, make sure to wear a mask and stay socially distant from others where possible. For more information on COVID-19 restrictions, please visit the NSW Health website.
If it’s a party where you take a plate of food consider taking healthier options like toasted or fresh flat bread, cut up vegetable sticks and salsa/hommus/tzatziki dip, or take a cheese plate but balance it out with nuts and fresh/dried fruit on the plate to nibble on as well, or consider a fruit plate if you’re on desserts – you’ll be amazed at how quickly these foods are eaten!
Remember to pace yourself if you’re drinking alcohol. If you’re driving then you need to be especially careful – you’ll lose your license on the spot in NSW for any blood alcohol reading of >0.05 plus a $561 fine. It’s really hard to try to calculate your blood alcohol concentration because everyone is different, and your blood alcohol concentration can be higher if you are a woman (compared to a man who drank the same amount of alcohol), drinking on an empty stomach, tired, unwell, feeling stressed out or physically unfit. Drinking slowly and having a mineral water or other non-alcoholic drink in between drinks will help you to stay safe. For more information on responsible drinking, please visit Transport for NSW Centre for Road Safety
Festive Food Safety
Remember to keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot! Bacteria can grow in foods that are in the ‘danger zone’ of between 5-60 degrees Celsius.
Keep food in the fridge until it is ready to be consumed.
If food has been out of the fridge for less than 2 hours it is safe to put it back in the fridge to be eaten at another time. Foods that have been out of the fridge for up to 4 hours are generally safe to eat, but must be thrown out after 4 hours.
Have a separate esky for drinks if you’re entertaining to allow the fridge to stay at the correct temperature (less opening and closing of the door).
Stay safe and enjoy the season!