Eat ! Drink ! And Be Merry ! Christmas festivities are coming up soon with a marathon of lunches, dinners, scrumptious desserts and goblets of mulled wine...
According to reports from the Body Chef, the average person consumes an average of 8,000 calories on Christmas day alone !!
Whilst you should certainly enjoy yourself, you don't want to over indulge and undo all the good work of your healthy eating.
Here's a few simple diet tips to help you get through the Christmas season without having to increase a dress size.
- Plan Ahead: If you know you will be attending a holiday party where there will be unhealthy foods, eat lightly during the day so that you'll be able to enjoy a few treats without overdoing it on calories.
- Eat Before a Party: Have a slice of cheese and a handful of nuts or yogurt with muesli. By taking the edge of your appetite, you can make good choices at the buffet line and enjoy a Christmas gathering without stuffing yourself full of junk food.
- Beware Party Buffet Food: avoid fatty shop-bought foods such as sausage rolls, pastries, samosas, cocktail sausages etc. One tiny cocktail sausage can contain over 60 calories. Instead choose things like finger sandwiches with low calorie fillings (ham, turkey, chicken), crudites with salsa dip, Twiglets, sushi rolls, and salads. And then there's the sweet treats such as mince pies, chocolates, mini desserts etc. It all adds up and it's easy to forget just how much you've eaten when you standing around chatting to friends. Set yourself a limit, such as one mince pie and one mini eclair, and then stick to it. And remember, you don't have to eat something just because you are offered it!
- Watch The Alcohol ! It adds up ! Don't forget that calories in alcohol also count. If you enjoy a large glass (250ml) of white wine, it could contain up to 240 calories...that's the same as a bar of Fruit & Nut Dairy Milk! Budgeting in the calories for one glass allows you to enjoy a favorite without gaining weight at Christmas. Add extra ice to your glass to cut back on the amount you end up drinking. Go for sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea the rest of the night. Choose low-calorie foods if you are opting for a high-calorie drink to keep your intake moderate. So try and be sensible with the amount you drink in the run up to Christmas. You could, for example, stick to smaller glasses, alternate with a glass of water or swap to white wine spritzers. Here's a rough calorie content guide:
- Spirits - 55 calories
- Small glass (125ml) of wine - 80-120 calories
- Large glass (250ml) of wine - 160-250 calories
- Small Baileys - 140 calories
- Can of lager - 220 calories
- Turkey is a great option for slimmers. It’s packed with protein, which helps fill you up, and provides many other nutrients including zinc, a mineral that keeps the immune system in tip-top shape. But best of all, turkey is lower in fat and calories than many other meats, especially if you go for the breast.
- Remove the skin from the turkey.
- Make sure that 1/2 your plate is piled up with vegetables and salads.
- Use less fat to roast potatoes and parsnips. Parboil them first, then brush lightly with oil rather than pouring straight from the bottle. Pop them into the oven and you should have delicious, crispy roasties that aren’t loaded with oil. Keep them in large pieces, too, as this reduces the amount of fat they absorb.
- If you’re going to use the meat juices to make the gravy, drain off any fat first.
- Beware of all the extras such as cranberry sauce, bread pudding and white sauce.
- If you can’t resist the Christmas pudding, have just a small serving. An average 100g portion contains a massive 330 calories and 11.8g fat.
- Choose your pudding partner carefully. Surprisingly, custard contains more calories than cream or brandy butter, even if you make it with skimmed milk! Bottom line: you might be better off opting for a dollop of cream if you can limit yourself to just one tablespoon.
- Last but Not Least -- Keep Exercising: Even if its a 30 minute walk a day !
If you are aware of any health problem which may compromise your general health, it is important to seek treatment. A Health and Wellness Counselor may help you, to bring you back in balance and to good health through healthy eating and living, especially a proper diet suited for your condition and the use of natural remedies, herbs and supplements.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist and Health & Wellness Coach.
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