A healthy Christmas

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Be sure to include lots of vegetables on you festive meal plate, preferably steamed and unbuttered.

Planning to minimise the weight gain this Christmas? Get your strategies in place to cope with festive temptation. Aside from avoiding food altogether, try these tips to keep the weight off.

  1. Plan ahead: Tucking into a Christmas feast later on? Plan a day of smaller meals beforehand and avoid between-meal treats.
  2. Chocolate box gifts: Never have more than one box of chocolates open at a time, and keep unopened boxes out of sight. They won’t go off: stagger them over the next few months if necessary.
  3. At the Christmas buffet: Do not hover by the buffet table. Make your selection then step away from the table. Think about what you’re putting on your plate – make it one portion and do not make repeat visits. Choose a smaller dessert-sized plate, and avoid the high saturated fat offerings like sausage rolls and quiche. Instead load up on fruit, skinless chicken and vegetables.
  4. At work: If everyone brings in Christmas goodies to share, make your contribution festive but healthy, and EAT THAT rather than the high-calorie communal chocolate and mince pies.
  5. At the supermarket: Make a shopping list and stick to it. Avoid the aisles of temptation and make your Christmas snacks plain popcorn, pretzels, and vegetable crudités with a low fat dip.
  6. The bird: Turkey is a great source of protein and a low fat meat. Most of the fat that is present in a cooked turkey will be found in the skin. So don’t eat the skin.
  7. Perfect portions: Even on Christmas Day, when turkey, stuffing, potatoes and rolls are begging to be eaten, make sure vegetables take up one third of the space on your dinner plate. If you’re in charge of cooking, steam veg where possible or use only a small amount of water. Brussels sprouts, peas and carrots can all be served unbuttered. Use the veg water for gravy and any leftover vegetables in a delicious soup to help fill you up and keep down the calorie count in the days after Christmas.
  8. Healthy options: Want to keep the calories down even further? Try dry roasting potatoes on a non-stick baking sheet or use an oil spray instead of smothering them in fat. You can also make gravy using vegetable stock instead of meat juices, accompanied by a fruit-based stuffing.
  9. Bottoms down: Who doesn’t drink more at Christmas? At the very least, steer clear of sweet cocktails and creamy liqueurs. Have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to keep down the calorie count. It also has the benefit of leaving you with a clearer head the next morning.
  10. Pie wise: The average mince pie contains around 250 calories and that’s before you’ve added cream or brandy butter. Can’t resist this Christmas treat? Always remove the lid to cut its calorie-count.

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