How to socialise without food

Dietitian, Estée van Lingen, shares ways to socialise over the December break that doesn’t involve food.

When it comes to the holidays, most people plan their events around food.Unfortunately, with this then comes overindulging and gaining weight. For those of you with diabetes, it can just be plain difficult to then still monitor and manage your blood glucose levels. So, what can you do to still make the holidays fun?

  • Gardening with family and kids.
  • Playing with kids.
  • Painting the house/artwork or furniture (giving them a new look).
  • Art classes with friends.
  • Visit the beach for a swim or go for a long walk on the beach.
  • Cleaning out the cupboards – overdue Spring cleaning.
  • Go for walks with family and/or the dogs.
  • Play board games.
  • Swimming or hanging around the pool (If you need a drink, try sparkling plain water with water flavouring drops and fresh fruit pieces).
  • Take up a sport you haven’t tried before. For example: golf, tennis, table tennis, action cricket or netball, putt-putt, rowing or fishing, surfing, zipline, quad biking, etc.
  • Doing charity work around the town or at old age homes/ animal shelters.
  • Pampering sessions with friends or at your house (foot scrub, face and hair masks, painting nails and lathering on cream).
  • Try out making new healthy recipes.
  • Make decorations for the holidays for your house or for setting the table. Upcycling up your used décor or cans, paper, straws.
  • Cleaning the garden (Raking, pulling out weeds, moving around plants, cutting the grass).
  • Journaling, meditating or reading.
  • Pilates or yoga or just stretching throughout the holidays.

Managing where you eat

Try and eat before or after an event at home or take your own snacks so that you don’t feel obligated to eat at the event or at a restaurant.

When you pack snacks or eat meals before an outing, choose food high in protein, such as boiled eggs, Provitas with low-fat cottage cheese, lean biltong, low-fat chicken mayo on Provitas or brown rice cakes or even snack on raw vegetables, nuts and seeds. Most importantly, include lots of water before, during and after activities to help suppress hunger and prevent overeating when finished.

If you are still not certain or need more assistance with your individual dietary needs, book an appointment with your nearest dietitian.


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian and has been in private practice since 2014. She is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

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