On average people eat 6,000 kcals a day on Christmas day, that’s three times the recommended daily intake for a woman and over twice that for a man! It’s no wonder people gain an average of 2kgs over the festive season.
Here are my top tips on a healthier Christmas:
On the day
- Keep breakfasts healthy and start the day right. Choose special but lower fat treats like currant buns, fruit bread, your favourite fruit and greek yoghurt, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a wholegrain bagel or wholemeal toast and chocolate spread. This will help keep you full and mean you are less likely to snack throughout the morning. Steer away from the pastries and save yourself for treats later in the day.
- Choose smoked salmon, a soup or melon as a starter.
- Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, so a great food to be eating. However watch those portion sizes! Have plenty of vegetables and don’t eat the skin.
- Those roasties may be delicious but stick to just a few. Cut them into large chunks so they absorb less fat. Use a vegetable oil instead of goose fat, if you want to support local producers look for a UK rapeseed oil.
- Christmas pudding is quite low in fat, but cream and brandy butter aren’t! Watch those portions and have a low fat custard or low fat creme fraiche as an option.
Through the festive season:
- It’s often the extras that cause the weight gain. Plan your treats in and don’t over buy. The supermarket bargains are tempting, but if you always know you have too many sweet treats around buy less this year.
- Snacks are tempting! Get some yummy olives, dried fruit and chestnuts instead of crisps, chocolate coated nuts and too much cheese. Try rice cakes, breadsticks, carrot sticks and homemade vegetable crisps with salsa instead of crisps and dips.
- Make your own open top mince pies, less pastry = lower fat. Have a fruit salad to hand as an option too.
- Alcohol contains calories! Get in some tasty no alcohol drinks in, make non alcoholic cocktails and use these to alternate drinks.
- Stay active. It’s so easy to stay indoors especially when it’s cold, but make a plan to stay active. Walks, bike rides, trips to the park with the children – it all counts.
Priya Tew is a registered dietitian who runs her own nutrition consultancy business, Dietitian UK.
As a mum and food lover she is passionate about helping people to discover good quality food and to show them how healthy eating is not just tasty but vitally important.