• Avril McManus

Avoiding the festive food temptations!

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

The festive season can be a challenge for anyone who is trying to eat healthily, there seems to be calories everywhere!

The festive season can be a challenge for anyone who is trying to eat healthily, there seems to be calories everywhere! Mince pies, mulled wine, eggnog, selection boxes, and puddings the list is endless. Surveys quote varying figures on the average calorie intake on Christmas day weighing in at around a massive 8,000kcals! Hence the average weight gain over the Christmas period is between 4-5lb (around 2kg) over the festive season.

If you are a person who is watching their weight over the festive season here are some healthy eating choices.


Office treats- When a box of chocolates appears in the office it’s hard not to keep going back again and again until they are all gone! One of the key tricks to help you withstand this kind of temptation is by making sure your blood sugar levels are stable. Ensure on having a healthy breakfast like porridge or omelette, and for lunch a wholemeal wrap with lean protein, such as chicken or salmon, and plenty of salad. These types of meal suggestions metabolise slowly, producing a sustained drip-feed of glucose into your bloodstream therefore keep cravings at bay. Furthermore, keep some healthy snacks in your drawer, such as oatcakes, unsalted nuts and apples. A closed handful of nuts is one portion. If you can’t resist the goodies, have them instead of your snacks, but take just one chocolate or mince pie, and don’t go back for more.


Christmas party– Opt to drinking one standard glass of wine (175ml at 159 calories) or a spritzer. This will not only save calories, but it also means you won’t get tipsy, so it will be easier for you to resist second helpings to the finger food. Choose white turkey meat, rather than the dark meat, as it is lower in fat, and leave the skin off. Have just a couple of potatoes, a tiny bit of stuffing if you wish, and fill your plate with vegetables, carrots and Brussels sprouts are low in calories and packed with nutrients. Ask the waiter if you can have the vegetables without added butter or oil. Gravy is lower in calories than bread sauce. For dessert, if it’s a Christmas puddings ask for a small portion but resist the brandy butter. Better options would be a little ice-cream or cream.


Christmas day - Breakfast can still be festive and indulgent. How about scrambles eggs with chopped chives and smoked salmon on wholemeal toast? Have vitamin C-rich fruits such as satsumas, clementines, pomegranate and persimmons. Nuts are a great snack, they’re relatively high in calories, but nuts contain heart healthy fats and fibre. But avoid salted or dry roasted varieties and a closed handful is one portion. We have already talked about the best choices for your Christmas dinner (see above the Christmas party section). For supper aim for something light, such as a turkey wholemeal sandwich and salad with a few festive additions – try a sprinkling of antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds or chopped walnuts! If indigestion arises during the day consume a cup of fennel tea as this herb acts a carminative and can help ease bloating.

I practice in Central London from the University of Westminster Polyclinic, Hanson Street, London, W1W 6EA, and Borough House Rooms, 4th Floor, 80 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LL.

 

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