Christmas Damage Limitation
Did you know that the average person eats 6,000 Kcals on Christmas Day? Unless you’re planning a 12-hour jog after your Christmas lunch, most of these calories will end up being stored as body fat!
Unfortunately our over-indulgence is rarely limited to just Christmas Day, with some of us putting healthy eating on hold for the whole of December! Is it any wonder that average weight gain over the Christmas period is 2-5 lbs. There is no doubt that Christmas is a season of serious temptation, but it doesn’t have to seriously affect our waistlines. Following these tips will help you maintain your weight over the Christmas period instead of having to start all over again in the New Year.
Simple tips for damage limitation this Christmas:
Lighten up your Christmas Dinner:
- Turkey is a low fat meat but only if you avoid the skin. If you remove the skin you can save around 40 Kcal per portion
- To make low-fat gravy, pour the turkey juices into a jug and add a couple of ice cubes. The fat will cling to ice cubes and can then be easily removed and discarded
- When it comes to Christmas pudding, swap 1 tablespoon of brandy butter with 1 tablespoon of low fat Greek yoghurt to save 65 Kcals
- Fill up on vegetables. Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, parsnips and red cabbage all contain antioxidants - substances which may help protect against heart disease and cancer. As long as they are not covered in butter or any other fatty spreads they are all low in calories and fat and contribute to the 5 portions of fruit and vegetables you need every day
Watch your alcohol intake:
Not only is alcohol high in calories, it also increases your appetite. Don’t drink on an empty stomach and alternate alcoholic beverages with water. If you’re drinking spirits, stick to diet or fruit juice mixers. Safe drinking levels are 2-3 units per day for women and 3-4units for men – even at Christmas!
Eat off a plate:
Decide how many chocolates you are going to have and put them on a plate, then move away from the box! As you eat, savour every mouthful. You’ll enjoy them a lot more than eating mindlessly straight from the box. Adopt the same approach at buffets and parties. Put what you want to eat on a plate and don’t go back for seconds.
The most important thing is to accept that you’re more likely to eat and drink more than normal on a number of days over the festive period. By planning ahead you can balance this out with healthier habits at other times. For example, if you know you will be having an indulgent lunch or dinner you might opt to have just fruit for breakfast. Identify meals when you won’t be pressured or influenced by others and make a special effort to eat healthy at these times. That said, don’t try to compensate for over-eating by starving yourself before or afterwards – just choose lighter, healthier foods.
Finally, remember that being active will help burn off those additional calories, so dance the night away at your Christmas party, and wrap up warm and go for a walk after Christmas lunch.