Do you love Christmas but stress over how to stop yourself from eating too much?
The average person in the UK will eat and drink around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day (we’re supposed to have about 2,000 a day for women and 2,500 for men) according to the British Dietetic Association (BDA). Not only that but we’ll be taking in an extra 500 a day in the party days running up to Christmas.
Aaargh! It’s hard enough keeping the weight off in normal times. No wonder we feel fat and fed-up in January…as well as poor and generally miserable.
So, if like me you find it hard not to eat the things you love (particularly crisps and cake in my case!) here are some really good ideas that the BDA has come up with to give yourself a helping hand over the festive season and kick-start the new year with at least a fighting chance of looking slim!
If you are going to eat out, eat smaller meals beforehand and cut out any other treats. Open one box of chocolates at a time rather than having five on the go and put unopened boxes away out of sight.
Don’t surf the Buffet table
Don’t hover by the buffet table (I do this – it’s like a magnet!) and if you do indulge, try and visit only once using a smaller dessert sized plate, avoiding the high saturated fat offerings like sausage rolls and quiche, in favour of fruit, skinless chicken and vegetable crudités.
To avoid the office communal chocolate/mince pies etc, take festive fruit like satsumas into work…all right, that probably wouldn’t work with me, so instead try limiting yourself to just one mince pie with your afternoon tea or one chocolate with your coffee.
When you go to the supermarket, make a list and stick to it. Avoid those aisles of temptation. If you want some festive snacks, try plain popcorn, pretzels, and vegetable crudités with a yummy low fat dip.
Turkey is a great source of protein and a low fat meat. Most of the fat that is present in a cooked turkey will be found in the skin. Why not take the skin off before you tuck in? Don’t waste it though. Fry it up, cut it into small pieces and give it to your pets or the garden birds.
Get your portions right
At least a third of your dinner plate should be vegetables, such as unbuttered Brussels sprouts, peas and carrots. Cook for the shortest length of time possible in the smallest amount of water necessary to keep all the nutrients in. Use the veg water for gravy and any leftover veg for a delicious soup These make a great contribution to your 5-a-day and they also help fill you up to stop the urge to snack between meals.
Go for a few healthy options
If you want to go that extra step, try dry roasting potatoes on a non-stick baking sheet or use an oil spray instead of smothering them in goose fat. You can also make your gravy using vegetable stock instead of meat juices, accompanied by a fruit-based stuffing with bread sauce made with low fat milk. If that sounds too dull to bear, just replace one of your indulgences with a healthier option.
If you like to indulge in a drink or two, you will probably tend to drink more over the Christmas period. Alcohol is very fattening. Particularly avoid sweet cocktails and creamy liquers if you can. Try alternating your drink with a glass of water or other calorie-free drinks and if you do enjoy a short with a mixer, stock up on low calorie mixers and unsweetened fruit juices and beware the home measures!.
Watch those mince pies!
The average mice pie contains about 250 calories and that’s before it’s covered in cream or brandy butter. Remove the lid to cut calories. Christmas is also the time of year when most houses have boxes and boxes of chocolates and biscuits to hand. While we all like to enjoy the odd treat now and then, balance this with some healthy options, such as satsumas piled high in a bowl, dried fruit, figs and nuts. They look really good anyway and can double-up as decorations.
Of course, if, like me, you still feel too fat after Christmas, look at our piece on low cost ways to lose weight and shed those uncomfortable pounds without losing them from your purse!