Christmas is a time for celebration, family, friends and feasting but the average person will consume around 6000 calories on Christmas day.
A few tips for a healthier Christmas without losing any of the Fun!
Choose tomato-based dips like salsa rather than dips made with cream or cream cheese. Alternatively make your own dips by adding fresh chopped herbs and spices to low-fat plain yoghurt or reduced-fat crème fraiche. Serve with vegetable crudités, breadsticks, rice or oatcakes instead of crisps or tortillas.
Reduce the fat but still make delicious crispy roasties by parboiling potatoes and parsnips first. Lightly brush with olive oil rather than pouring from the bottle. Cut in large pieces to reduce the amount of oil absorbed. Try roasting sweet potatoes which are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene and have a lower GI-rating than white potatoes.
Pile on the vegetables. The greater the variety of colours, the greater the variety of nutrients. Vegetables are typically low in calories. Avoid smothering them in butter as 1tsp adds around 35 calories.
Turkey is a great choice as it is packed with protein and contains zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Great for the immune system, energy and mood. A 100g serving of roast turkey contains 157 calories and 3.2g fat. Go easy on the skin though as just 15g contains around 70 calories and 6g fat.
5. Mince Pies and Christmas pudding
Try making your own mince pies using filo pastry instead of short crust. Filo pasty has 304 calories per 100g while short crust has 453 calories. Leave off the pastry top or try mixing stewed apple in with the mincemeat to reduce the fat content.
Choose lower fat versions of shop bought Christmas pudding or mince pies.
6. Stay hydrated
It is important to stay hydrated as even mild dehydration can lead to a headache. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water, herbal tea or diluted juice a day. Alcohol has a diuretic effect making it even more important to stay properly hydrated.
7. Don’t skip meals to stockpile calories for alcohol.
Alcohol supplies empty calories so you will be depriving your body of valuable nutrients needed for detoxification.
8. Don’t drink on an empty stomach
Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Try eating a small pot of natural yoghurt and a banana before drinking. The protein slows stomach emptying and the potassium rich banana helps balance an increase in salt intake of nibbles. Lighter coloured alcoholic drinks tend to be lower in chemical by-products. The greater the chemical by-products the worse the hangover. Alternate alcoholic drinks with juice, water or a soft drink.
9. Immune System
Most of us are so busy over the Christmas holidays that we can forget how important it is to take time out for rest and relaxation which is essential for supporting the immune system. Immunity is greatly affected by what we eat and drink. Boost the immune system by reducing sugar intake, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. Increase intake of vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. For extra support take a high potency multi-vitamin with zinc which helps to support and stimulate the immune system.
10. 80/20 Rule
Christmas is a time for celebration so apply the 80-20 rule to eating and drinking through-out the year to allow for a bit of indulgence over Christmas.