Christmas is a time for over-indulgence, we all know, love and accept that.
But have you ever really considered the amount of calories you are in facteating?
The average person in the UK will consume around 6,000 calories on Christmasday alone (versus the guideline daily amount of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men).
In addition to this, over the festive period, which seems to kick off earlier and earlier each year, the average person may consume an extra 500 calories per day, equating to a weight gain of around 5lb by the time January the first comes around if you’ve been partying since the end of November.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is on hand to highlight some handy tips to ensure the only thing that gets really stuffed this Christmas is the turkey.
Plan ahead. 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.
Buffet table surfing. Don’t hover by the buffet table 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.
Office politics. To avoid the office communal chocolate/mince pies etc, take festive fruit like satsumas into work.
Supermarket sweep. When going 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.
Big bird. 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?
Perfect portions. About 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.
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.
Bottoms down. Those who like to indulge in a drink or two, tend to drink more over the Christmas period. Alcohol is very energy dense (7kcal/g versus 4kcal/g for protein or carbs and 9kcal/g for fat). Avoid sweet cocktails and creamy liquers. 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.
Pie-eyed. 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.
Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA, commented:
“Christmas should be a time for festive fun and special food. You shouldn’t feel guilty about treats now and then, you just need to make sure that they are treats and not the whole sum of your food intake. Stock up on some healthy alternatives too for some balance.
“This time of year, it is so easy to unwittingly consume a lot more calories than normal. Make plans to get yourself and the family active – dancing, shoppingand post-meal walks all will help to burn off some calories.
“Have a Very Happy and Healthy Christmas.”