Niamh Arthurs (BSc Nutrition) looks into healthy Christmas survival tips.
Hands up if you have ever used or will use in the Coming weeks the popular phrase “Ah sure it’s Christmas” as a guilt free pass to indulge in all the fine festive foods!! So many of us do. Some research suggests that we eat an approximate 7000kcal on Christmas Day alone. Not to mention the lead up to Christmas day when we can clock up the calories with all the late party nights and fine dining.
The festive season should be enjoyed but with the plentiful supply of lovely rich foods, festive treats & drink, it can be all too easy to overeat. It has been suggested that on average we gain over 2kg in weight over the festive season. This can be thanks to all the second helpings of stuffing, Christmas Pudding, mince pies, Belgian chocolates, party tippets & alcoholic tipples that are almost impossible to resist.But don’t despair. Here are some ways to enjoy this holiday season;
Fill up with Fruit & Vegetables
Remember to enjoy the in season freshness of brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potato, satsumas, cranberries & other favourites. You may even meet your 5 a day from your dinner plate alone!
Less Sugar & More Spice in All Things Nice
Replace some of the sugar you eat with traditional Christmas spices for fabulous flavour & some can even aid your health. Traditional herbs such as ginger & cinnamon can help treat digestive problems while milk thistle may give your liver a boost to help it cope with the late party nights and rich foods.
Cut down on portion sizes
Many traditional foods are actually low in fat but it is the trimmings, extra helpings and constant nibbling that piles on the pounds. So use a smaller plate and don’t feel you have to clear it. Also leave some time before going for more as it can take our bodies 20 minutes to realise that we are full.
Festive gatherings are not all about food. If we are eating more food, then we need to move more to prevent weight gain. Meet up with friends/family for walks or ice-skating, show some moves on the dance floor and do not forget that kids and animals need play time and the fresh air too.
Get a good night’s sleep
The party season can be exhausting and if we are tired and low in energy, it can be much easier to be less active and indulge in the high sugar/fatty foods. Ensure you are getting enough sleep to enable your body to fully recharge so it is ready to rumble again the next day.
Try Some Healthier Food Swaps
-Tortilla chips for Vegetable Crudités
-Sausage rolls for Cocktail Sausages
-Cheese straws for Breadsticks
-Creamy/Cheesy dips for Salsa
-Chicken goujons for Chicken satay skewer
-Samosa for Falafel
-Sausage stuffing for Chestnut/Fruit based stuffing
-Roast Potatoes for Boiled Potatoes
-Brandy Butter for Crème Fraiche/Low fat custard
-Double Cream for Greek Yoghurt
-Christmas cake/pudding for Fruit & Nut balls
-Milk/White chocolate for Dark chocolate
-Mulled wine for Mulled cranberry Juice
-Champagne for Buck’s Fizz
So have a happy & healthy Christmas & Best wishes for 2015!!