Christmas can be a time when we lose sight of our health goals.
The truth is, though, there are some simple things we can all do to help us limit the damage the festive season can inflict on us:
- Limit the number of mince pies you munch
It’s all too easy to get carried away with Christmas treats. The average mince pie has 289 calories, though. So, eating more than a couple over the Christmas break racks up the number of extra calories you’re taking in.
- Watch what you nibble at Christmas parties
Many of the snacks we eat at Christmas parties are high in calories. Crisps, nuts, vol-au-vents, battered prawns, garlic bread, sweets, and chocolates all add up.
Here’s what you could do:
- Eat before the party – going there hungry means you’re more likely to over-indulge.
- Don’t hover near the food table – resist grazing all night by keeping the food table at arm’s length.
- Choose lean meats and fish, fresh prawns, crudités, and breadsticks.
- If you love the cheese board, choose goat’s cheese, brie, camembert, or Edam, over more calorific cheeses, and accompany them with grapes, celery, or water biscuits, rather than baguettes or high-calorie crackers.
- Make every other drink water – cutting the empty calories you consume in alcohol.
- Cook at least four vegetables with Christmas dinner
From Brussels sprouts and broccoli to carrots and parsnips, get four or five vegetables on your plate at Christmas lunch.
If you fill up on vegetables which are full of vitamins and minerals, you’re less likely to snack on less healthy items later.
- Make some healthier choices on Boxing Day
The average Briton consumes 3,289 calories on Christmas Day – compared with the recommended daily intake of 2,000 calories for a woman and 2,500 for a man.
It’s wonderful to enjoy Christmas with family and friends and no one is suggesting we ought to worry about having our Christmas dinner.
Yet, while many other countries are back at work on the day after, we’re often sitting around the house on Boxing Day and the days following – and the temptation is high to replicate the eating pattern of Christmas Day.
If we give in to that impulse, a day of eating extra calories can soon turn into a week’s worth of over-eating.
That could mean more than 4,000 extra calories are consumed over Christmas week. We burn around 100 calories by walking a mile – so we’d have to walk more than 400 miles to burn that off.
Here’s what you could do between Christmas and New Year:
- Make meals of lean meat or fish on Boxing Day and the following days. A turkey curry with rice can be a far healthier option than another roast dinner – use a tomato-based sauce rather than one with added cream.
- Go veggie for a few days. Cook meals using vegetables, Quorn, or soya, to reduce the intake of calories.
- Avoid sugary foods. Sweets and chocolate are tempting, but they are packed full of calories and few nutrients. If you need something sweet, grab a satsuma or clementine.
- Get some exercise. Go for a walk every day to help get your metabolism working properly again, take part in a Boxing Day swim, or there are several Boxing Day runs which you could join.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and think about your choice of drink. There are 82 calories in a glass of white wine and 208 calories in a pint of beer.
If we limit our Christmas indulgence to one day, we’re far less likely to beat ourselves up about it.
We also need to remember this: just a few days of exercise and healthy eating can start to get you back on track.
Could we help you achieve your health goals in 2017?
Call me on 02920 676 623.