The festive season should be enjoyed, but with temptations all around we may need that extra bit of motivation to avoid overindulging.
Here are some ways to enjoy this holiday season while staying on track with your health goals.
Fill up with Fruit & Vegetables
Remember to enjoy the in season freshness of brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potato, satsumas, cranberries and other favourites. Bursting with a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need to fend off the cold winter bugs and infections. They are also high in fibre helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. You may even meet your 5 a day from your dinner plate alone!
Less Sugar & More Spice in All Things Nice
Replace some of the sugar you eat with traditional Christmas spices for fabulous flavour and some can even help soothe digestive upsets such as ginger & cinnamon.
Cut down on portion sizes
Many traditional foods at this time of year such as the lean meat in turkey, root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and cranberry sauce are actually low in fat but it is the trimmings, extra helpings and constant nibbling that piles on the pounds. So use a smaller plate and don’t feel you have to clear it. Also leave some time before going for more as it can take our bodies 20 minutes to realise that we are full.
Festive gatherings are not all about food. If we are eating more food, then we need to move more to prevent weight gain. Meet up with friends/family for nice fresh walks or show some moves on the dance floor and do not forget that kids and animals need play time and the fresh air too!
Get a good night’s sleep
The party season can be exhausting and if we are tired and low in energy, it can be so much easier to be less active and indulge in the high sugar and high fat foods. Ensure you are getting enough sleep to enable your body to fully recharge so it is ready to rumble again the next day.
Healthier Food Swaps to keep you feeling Merry & Bright All Season Long…
- 50g creamy/cheesy dips for 50g salsa (Saving 13g fat, 111kcal)
- 1 large (70g) chicken goujon for 2 mini chicken satay skewers (Saving 6g fat, 137kcal)
- 2 small sausage rolls for 2 cocktail sausages (Saving 1g fat, 24kcal)
- 1 (50g) vegetable samosa for 1 ball (17g) of falafel (Saving 2.5g fat, 61kcal)
- 2 cheese straws for 1 large breadstick (Saving 6g fat, 75kcal)
- 25g crackers for 25g of vegetable sticks (Saving 5g fat, 110kcal)
- 30g Stilton cheese for 30g goat’s cheese (Saving 4g fat, 67kcal)
- 100g sausage stuffing for 100g chestnut/fruit based stuffing (Saving 15.2g Fat, 90kcal)
- 100g roast potatoes for 100g Boiled Potatoes (Saving 4.4g Fat, 40kcal)
- 1tbsp brandy butter for 3tbsp low fat custard (Saving 5.2g fat, 54kcal)
- 2tbsp double cream for 2tbsp Greek yoghurt (Saving 14.2g Fat, 117kcal)
- Luxury bread sauce for bread sauce made with semi-skimmed milk (Saving 262kcal)
- 1 tsp butter/oil on vegetables for herbs/spices/lemon zest to flavour vegetables (Saving 4.1g fat, 37kcal)
- 150ml Bailey’s for 150ml white wine (Saving 19g fat, 340kcal)
- 200ml hot chocolate with whole milk & cream for 200ml Hot Chocolate with semi-skimmed milk & mini marshmallows (Saving 9g fat, 42kcal)
Have a healthy and happy Christmas!
Niamh Arthurs, Student Dietitian