I don’t know about you, but when Christmas comes around my mind turns to food. There is nothing I enjoy more than making a list of all the awesome food I’ll be preparing and buying in ready for the festive period. The only problem is the waistline and how much it increases over that two week period. Well, here are a few ideas to minimise the damage.
Stuffin Your Face
I’m not ashamed to say that I tend to go a little over the top when it comes to Christmas food. I want everything and I don’t want my family to miss out on any of their favourite treats. The only problem is that most of our favourite treats come with the chance of a slight gain in weight.
Chocolate, mince pies, stollen and alcohol as well as the awesomeness that is Christmas dinner can often lead to anything up to a stone in weight gain. I’ve personally gained 7lbs over the last two weeks of the year. So here are a few ways to try and reduce the risk of gaining those few pesky pounds.
Pile your Plate With Veggies
This one is pretty simple but so effective. Rather than piling on the fattier parts of Christmas dinner such as meat, Yorkshire puddings and roasts, double up on the veggies.
Not only are they lower in fat and carbohydrates, they are full of all the vitamins and minerals your body need to stay healthy. The amount of fibre will also keep you fuller for longer plus, well sprout farts.
Unfortunately, farting itself doesn’t burn any calories (don’t believe the 67 calorie rumour) but running out the room to avoid the green cloud of stink might.
Offer Healthier Starters & Desserts
Rather than opting for paté or melted cheese and bread for starters or a chocolate fudge cakes for dessert try a fruit or veggie based meal.
Melon with a fruit coulis is a healthy and delicious option, you can even add a little Cointreau or Malibu to make it more fun or adult.
Soup is my favourite starter and this year I’ll be serving up a tasty roast parsnip soup, very festive and filled with Christmas spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Fruit salad is the obvious healthy alternative but rather than using your usual fruits look at adding some more exotic choices. Papaya, passionfruit and lychees are all wonderful additions to a traditional fruit salad.
Sorbet is a great choice too and there are some great flavours available, mango is a personal favourite.
Consider replacing usual dairy ingredients such as custard with dairy-free as they tend to have less fat while still tasting fantastic.
Dark Chocolate Rather Than White Or Milk
Now, don’t get me wrong, milk chocolate has always been my preferred chocolate type but since switching to vegan I’ve acquired a taste for a good dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate tends to have less fat and sugar than it’s milk/while counterparts and it delivers more flavonoids and Phenylethylamine (what gives you the happy feeling) meaning you don’t need to eat as much to make you feel awesome!
Keep a lookout for some awesome flavours such as chilli, sea salt, lemon and mint, orange and ginger. Rather than getting a box of poor quality chocolate boxes such as Heros or Quality Street (which get smaller and more expensive each year), invest in a good quality bar or two. You’ll thank me.
Watch What You’re Drinking
Baileys, Snowballs, mulled wine and beers are all traditional drinks during the festive period but they’re also packed full of those sneaky calorie gremlins that take in your favourite jeans by a couple of inches.
To avoid those gremlins look to switching to spirits and low-cal mixers if you’re wanting a seasonal drink. Great ideas include:
- Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum with diet ginger beer and a cinnamon stick (a personal fave).
- Rosemary Gin Fizz – Gin, soda water, honey, lemon and rosemary sprigs.
Minty Dog – Gin, grapefruit juice, sugar and mint leaves.
Or there is always the option to add festive flavours to your favourite regular drinks like a cinnamon stick to your whiskey and coke. Just remember that beers, ciders and wine are made using sugar or fruit which contain a lot of sugar. Drinks such as Baileys, Khalua and advocaat are made using eggs and milk.
Crisp Christmas Walks
Now I’m guilty of just stuffing my face then collapsing on the sofa in front of the TV watching whatever crap is playing. Instead of falling into this trap go for a lovely walk with the family.
All grab your coats, hats and scarves, put the dog (if you have one) on their lead and take a walk after dinner. The walk will help allow for some much-needed exercise, the fresh air will finish off the kids and it’s a great way to spend time with everyone away from the idiot box (what my grandad used to call the TV).
Obviously, the most important part of Christmas is spending time with your friends and family, enjoying good food and a few drinks. You shouldn’t spend you’re whole holiday counting calories and worrying about what you’re eating (unless you really want to), at the end of the day it’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about.
If you do think that you’re at risk of overeating and want to plan a healthier 2018 then why not take part in Veganuary in January? Here’s to a healthy Christmas and failing that, a healthier new year.