Everyone knows that Christmas is the time of the year when delicious food is aplenty and clothes get a little tighter come the New Year. This is followed by desperate crash dieting and the promise of a healthy fresh start after all the celebrations are over.
Research has shown that the average person will gain about a pound during the Christmas season. And eating starts much before Christmas Day: with parties, food markets and tins of sweet treats on our kitchen counters all though the month.
Nutritionists say that there is a lot we can do to prevent overeating without forgoing all the amazing food. Portion size, healthy substitutions and cooking methods can be valuable tools to keep our weight and wellbeing in check.
December brings along a festive frenzy and a big obsession with all the holiday food favourites. Experts indicate that indulging in comfort foods and treats isn’t bad when you limit yourself to one thing a day.
Although one pound isn’t much, nutritionists see that people don’t often lose the weight afterwards, leading to gains that start creeping on.
The first step is being aware of what a healthy portion size should look like. The serving size is what is recommended by the food manufacturer and the portion size is how much we decide to eat. Based on your personal nutritional needs, calculate the ideal amount so that you don’t overeat. Many webpages and apps can help estimate the calories and nutrients in each type of food and the NHS has their own online calorie checker for over 150,000 different food and drinks.
If we look at popular food choices there are many ways to choose healthier options. Starting with roasted turkey, it is actually very healthy. However, preparation methods like deep-frying will add more fat. For stuffing, adding more vegetables and going lighter on the bread will also reduce calorie intake. Mashed potatoes are delicious with butter and milk, but adding carrots and celery to the mix will lighten your mash, as well as using low-fat milk.
Remember to stop eating when you are satisfied, watch your alcohol intake, use smaller plates and eat healthier appetizers.
However, Christmas is a time to enjoy with friends and family so don’t be overly harsh with yourself. You can choose what you focus on and eating healthy can still be accomplished afterwards. It’s how you eat on a regular basis that really matters.