Stay Healthy Over Christmas

A healthy diet and lifestyle can really take a hammering over Christmas.

The extra nights out mean there are more opportunities for temptation, and less inclination to be active the next day.

No one wants to spoil the fun but it’s worth arming yourself with a few facts on how beat the bulge.

Experts estimate that most people gain one pound, or 0.5 kg, over the Christmas period – that’s around 3,500 extra calories in a couple of weeks!

The trick to preventing this is by trying to make small changes to reduce what you normally eat over the festive season, or by taking the opportunity to be more active during your free time.

Reducing your portion sizes is probably the best – and simplest – way to keep your diet under control. That way, you can eat a little bit of all your favourites, rather than cutting out seasonal treats completely.

Here are a few switches to you help avoid those extra inches:

* Eat one mince pie instead of two – save 185 calories. And take the pastry top off your pie and save an extra 80.

* Skip the Christmas pudding and cream after dinner, you can have it for tea later on instead of something else – save 329 calories. Swapping Greek yoghurt for cream will add to your tally.

* Always have a glass of water when you are drinking alcohol – cutting down by one glass of wine (125 ml) will save you around 100 calories. Adding a handful of ice to your wine glass before pouring will also shave off another 80. And beware huge wine glasses – drinking out of a smaller glass will reduce your calorie intake.

* Substitute diet or slim line mixers in your G&T and save 40 calories.

* Have mashed potato and skip the roasties – save 379 calories for three medium roast potatoes.

* Take a small portion of turkey instead of a large one – save 120 calories. Steer clear of the skin and avoid an extra 50 calories.

* Opt for a small portion of ham instead of a large one – save 170 calories

* Eat two chocolates instead of four – save around 90 calories

* Don’t munch on bowls of crisps and nuts at parties, just take a few and then move away. 30 grams of crisps contains around 150 calories and a handful of nuts gives you 256

* Swap a glass of Baileys at 180 calories for champagne and save 70 calories

* Substitute two sausages on sticks for two chicken satay pieces – save 80 calories

Of course parties are the time when we relax and our guard is down so it makes sense to eat something like wholemeal toast with an egg or peanut butter to take the edge of our hunger before heading out on the town.

Thirst is often mistaken for hunger so staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water before a party will ensure you don’t drink wine to quench your thirst which inevitably lowers your resistance to calorie-laden snacks.

If you’re chilling out at home, keeping snacks covered or even out of reach will encourage you to eat less. And don’t snack in front of the TV. Above all, staying active over Christmas has huge benefits for your body and mind. Get outside, clear your head and walk your way to a healthier New Year.

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