I hate Christmas pudding. Absolutely hate the stuff! It is right up there with Brussel sprouts and mince pies on my Crimbo dislikes list. This probably protects me a bit from the inevitable Christmas weight gain; or at least you would think it does.
Well it doesn’t, I find lots of other rubbish to gorge on leading up to and certainly on Christmas day itself – mash and gravy, stuffing, pigs in blankets, Pavlova, Banoffee, Pringles, Shloer, more Banoffee…mmmmmmm Banoffee.
If it was a one day blow-out it would probably be fine, not healthy obviously but fine. The problem is that we as a nation seem to celebrate Christmas from the day after Halloween. Suddenly you are slapped in the face with a massive range of seasonal, calorific ‘goodies’ the second you walk through the door of any supermarket.
Wow, that huge tub of Quality Street is only £4! I should buy that and put it away until Christmas. Cue Sunday afternoon flaked out on the sofa halfway to a chocolate coma. Don’t be ashamed, we’ve all been there.
There are ways to stop Christmas derailing your health and I’ve been practising these for the last few years and thankfully come January I’m usually still using the same hole on my belt. Give them a try this year to see if you can avoid a guilt-ridden January 2016.
- Avoid the ‘Gingerbread Latte with Ginger Infused Cream’ or whatever extravagant coffee you’re tempted by while waiting in line for your Cappuccino. A medium-sized drink like this will set you back about 300 calories and a whopping 25-30g of sugar. A large will have at least 40g of sugar and around 500 calories. Compare that to a regular Cappuccino which usually has just less than 100 calories and 8.5g sugar all of which are milk sugars and don’t count towards the recommended daily sugar limits.
- When going to friends or families for Christmas visits be prepared for the onslaught of junk food. Eat a light dinner so you know you have calories left to spare and you won’t feel bad about indulging in a mince-pie. Decide before you start eating how much you will eat, e.g. one of the mince pies and one glass of mulled wine.
- Party! Christmas is all about socialising, having a good time and getting a bit worse for wear somewhere along the line. All the boozy nights add up though and alcohol is great for adding inches to your gut. Try drinking a glass of water every other drink or maybe every 3rd drink (whatever works for you). This will mean less total drink consumed (so fewer calories), less money spent and maybe even less of a hangover the next day.
- Enjoy your 3 course dinners but try to leave some on your plate at every course. The easiest way to do this is to move one-third of the food to one side as soon as you are served the dish, BEFORE you have even tasted it. Just push it one side and tell yourself that is your back up food. After you have eaten most of the meal (the 2/3), stop eating for five minutes, have a chat and drink some water. If after that you want to eat the remaining food then do. Our brains tend to take a bit longer than our stomach to know we’ve had enough. Just by following this simple rule you’ll cut a third of your calories while still enjoying all three courses!