Piling on a few pounds might seem inevitable if you want to truly enjoy the festive season but it need not be.
From now until January it is high risk season for the figure-conscious: the champagne is flowing, the party nibbles are endless and the mince pies are just too hard to resist. Christmas day itself is not likely to see you go up a dress size, it's actually during the weeks either side Christmas when most of the damage is done.
But, by replacing calorie hotspots such as creamy canapés and Christmas cocktails with lighter alternatives you will feel healthier and fresher each day. Rather than denying yourself the pleasure of festive feasting entirely, try these tips for staying trim and feeling good during the party season.
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY
Be choosy with your canapés – admittedly the pastry or bread based ones are often hard to avoid – so just look out for those made with wholegrain flour for a base full of filling fibre.
Make fresh vegetables your Christmas party ally and reach for the raw crudités. Go easy on the dip and try to include a rainbow of colours for maximum anti-oxidants.
Sipping water between bites can help neutralise some of the inflammatory responses that wheat and sugar can cause as well as keeping you hydrated.
If possible eat a balanced, light meal before the event so that you are satisfied and can turn down calorie-laden temptations.
Counting canapés might sound rather boring and go against the festive spirit but by limiting yourself to two or three you will be relieved when you fit into your favourite skinny jeans come New Year's Day.
Swap crisps for nuts, olives or popcorn and you can munch away guilt-free.
Sugary cocktails are a slimmer’s worst enemy. Limit yourself to one then move on to a more figure-friendly tipple with a diet mixer or try a spritzer.
Another way to stave off the pounds is by hitting the dance floor. Not only is it an exceptionally good way of burning calories, you will also avoid the canapés being passed around.
Of course the festive season is here to be enjoyed and we are not suggesting you pass up the indulgent fun entirely. But follow these tips and you will thank yourself when you are not struggling through a cruel detox in the New Year.
Try out our figure-friendly and utterly delicious canapés:
Toasted Sourdough with Avocado, Radish and Watercress
Shallot, Prawn and Thai Rice Noodle Salad in Filo Baskets
Griddled Halloumi and Pink Lady Apple Wedges with Caper, Anchovy and Herb Dressing
Chilli and Chickpea Bites
Japanese Style Rare Beef and Radish Roll-ups