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Keep Healthy at Christmas

How to stay healthy at Christmas

Christmas is of course a time for celebrating and enjoying time with family and friends. But it’s also a time of high-fat, high-calorie food and bucket loads of alcohol!

Christmas excess today means that the average person consumes 6,000 calories on Christmas day. To put that in perspective, this is equivalent to eating 4.8kg of egg-fried rice, 3 chicken tikka curries with 3 naan bread and 24 onion bhajis or 23 and a half hamburgers…. WOW


Then there’s also the Boxing Day left-overs, New Year celebrations, countless nibbles and drinks parties and work nights out, all which combine to create one big month of feasting! It’s all great fun, but there are ways to do things a little more healthily so that you don’t end up piling on the holiday half stone.

The key is balance. If you feast one day then just be a little bit better the next!

Below we share our secrets for staying a little healthier over Christmas, avoiding overindulgence and beating the morning-after blues so that you skip into 2016 looking and feeling great!

  • Ensure you have a good breakfast on Christmas morning or you’ll start snacking on cheesy puffs by 10am. Try some scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, a piece of wholegrain toast and some spinach. It’s a great, protein rich breakfast that feels a little more interesting than your usual porridge or cereal.
  • Avoid sweet cocktails, wine and creamy liqueurs. Drink clear spirits such as gin or vodka with a diet fizzy drink or soda. It’ll help your waistline not to mention the hangover!
  • Enjoy a mince pie (250 calories) but just don’t add the cream or brandy butter on top as this piles on another 200 calories. Mini mince pies are even better and taste just as good.
  • Swap unhealthy snacks for satsumas, nuts, dates or other fruit. Eat vegetable crudites or popcorn, provided it's without butter or sugar, for low-calorie alternatives to crisps.
  • Make gravy from vegetable stock rather than using the fat and juices from the meat. Or swap gravy altogether for bread sauce or fruit sauce.
  • Only open one box of chocolates at a time – numerous boxes on the go at once mean that you will constantly snack on different sweets all day.
  • Oven roast some turnips, swede and butternut squash rather than making goose fat roast potatoes. Or if you love potatoes why not try boiled potatoes.
  • Buffets can be a disaster zone - so make sure to half your plate with salad and vegetables, and the rest with protein-based canapés like salmon and chicken.
  • Avoid snacking on canapés by having a pre-party snack such as yogurt and sliced banana. The yogurt's protein slows stomach emptying, which helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine while the potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in salt intake.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, diluting juice and herbal teas.
  • Swap meat stuffing for chestnut or fruit-based stuffing, which are low in fat and a good source of potassium
  • Don’t wrap sausages in bacon or pastry. Grill, dry fry or bake sausages on a wire rack so that the fat drains off. They will taste just as good!
  • Try not to have dips made with cream or cream cheese. Choose tomato-based dips, such as salsa, or mix some chopped herbs into low-fat yoghurt. 
  • Go on a morning walk on Christmas Day and Boxing Day with your family. It’s a great way to burn off a few extra calories while still enjoying time with loved ones.

Of course the most important thing is to relax, take a break and have fun over the festive period. However it’s important to keep in mind what you are eating and drinking and rebalance those extra calories by making small changes where you can.

Happy Christmas!


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