Christmas is a time for fun, family and yes, food! Studies show that we can consume up to 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone and put on a few pounds in weight over the festive period.
But while all the Christmas goodies can be hard to resist, there are some ways in which we can make it a little bit healthier, without having to count calories or reach for the carrot sticks instead of the mince pies.
This is the best way of managing to beat the Christmas bloat. Sitting around for hours watching festive films while snacking is a really bad combination, so try to get some exercise most days.
Just a half an hour walk or run, a family bike ride or a swim is enough to help keep you fit. Try to get out a few times a week. The fresh air will also help to add some Christmas cheer if you’ve been finding it a little bit stressful.
The buffet table can be hard to resist, but it is possible to make better choices and not just fill your plate with absolutely everything before going back for seconds.
There are often healthier options such as bread sticks, olives, hummus and vegetable sticks. Try to eat more of these and keep the sausage rolls and crisps to a minimum.
Also try to have a snack before you go to the party, so you’re not really hungry when you get there.
TURKEY - If you’re having turkey, prick the skin of the bird before cooking so that the fat will run out. Placing it on a trivet or up-turned ovenproof plate will ensure that it isn’t sitting in fat for the whole time it is cooking.
POTATOES - Cut potatoes larger rather than smaller for roasting. A larger surface area absorbs less fat. This applies to parsnips too.
BREAD SAUCE - make it with skimmed milk and add a clove of garlic to the milk to enhance the flavor.
LOW FAT GRAVY -
Pour the meat juices into a jug, wait for the fat to rise to the surface before spooning it off and using the juices to make the gravy.
Try low-fat dips
Keep snacks out of reach, so you have to move to get them, otherwise you might find you’ve eaten a whole box of chocolates while watching your favourite Christmas movie.
No-one really likes cooking all holiday, so batch cook casseroles and stews and then freeze them so you and your family can enjoy quick, healthy and nutritious meals rather than being tempted to reach for the take away menu.
Most importantly enjoy your food, but follow the ‘everything in moderation rule’.
Merry Christmas everyone!
*Christmas dinner tips from the British Dietetic Association