Christmas is a time of overindulgence and the average woman ends up gaining 5lbs. But to you can cut back on this weight gain over the festive period by following a few simple tips – nutrition expert Gabriella Peacock explains how...
Avoid going hungry to parties
Eat something light before to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food. If you turn up hungry, you are likely to eat more without realising. If you don't plan ahead it's like going to the supermarket on an empty stomach; you end up buying items you don't want and, more importantly, don't need.
Don’t be tempted by the Christmas special offers
Out of sight, out of mind. It may be difficult but the best thing is not to buy treats in the first place. Most of us eat more than we need to simply because food is in front of us. One way to avoid eating a family-sized tin of Quality Street for breakfast is to keep the treats out of sight and only put them out when guests are expected.
Limit the booze!
Opt for lower calorie options such as gin or vodka with soda and fresh lime. Add soda to white wine to make spritzers and try to have one large glass of water to every alcoholic drink. Make your glass last as long as possible, and stay away from sweet liqueurs, alcopops, and anything with an umbrella!
When you have a plan you are much less likely to indulge in all the sugary stuff. Help yourself by carrying sensible snacks such as a few almonds and piece of fruit.
Reduce the sugar in baking
The amount of sugar in a lot of traditional recipes is often excessive. If you make your own cakes, you can usually reduce the sugar by up to a third without compromising on taste or texture so give it a go, or choose recipes which contain dried fruit.
Beware of the honeyed/salted nuts
A vast drawback on the nuts offered around Christmas time is that they are often covered in salt and/or sugar. Opt for unsalted nuts as they’re packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. You can also go one step further and buy them in their shells as getting to grips with a nutcracker will result in you eating less (e.g. pistachios and walnuts!)
Swap the high fat snacks for crudités
Replace scotch eggs or sausage rolls with vegetable crudités and dips. Another healthier snack instead of crisps in popcorn.
Stick to your normal routine and try to do something every day. As long as you manage to keep yourself physically active during the Christmas period, you will keep your metabolism humming, and your body will have an easier time burning off all the excess calories. Fitting in a morning workout on the days when you’re expecting a massive dinner would be perfect.
Gabriela Peacock is a nutritionist and founder of GP Nutrition.