How to have a healthy Christmas
There are lots of traditional aspects to Christmas... the mince pies, the turkey dinner, the portly gentleman in red who manages to squeeze down the chimney every year.
Being healthy is not really one of them.
“Christmas time and healthy eating don’t really seem to go together,” admits Boots nutritionist Vicky Pennington. “On average, people consume as many as 6,000 calories on Christmas Day and just one mince pie contains around 250 calories. It’s very, very easy to overindulge.”
Drawing out the festive fun
Having a high-calorie Christmas probably wouldn’t be such an issue if the indulgence were restricted to December 25. The problem is that many view Christmas as a “festive period”. As the popular song says, “There are parties for hostin’” and “marshmallows for toastin’” throughout much of December and early January. The danger is that Christmas extends to weeks of entertaining and every occasion involves crisps and snacks.
“One of the things I would suggest is that you try to limit Christmas eating to just the day itself, rather than the whole festive period,” says Vicky. “It’s about damage limitation!”
Go slow on the buffet
The party season is lined with “all you can eat” buffet options, from vol-au-vent to chicken wings. The old maxim, “Never eat on two feet” comes into its own at buffets.
“Don’t graze by the buffet table,” says Vicky. “You can end up eating a lot more than you realise. Fill your plate, sit down and eat - and don’t keep going back for more!”
Beat the bloat
If you dislike the bloated feeling Christmas gives you, it is possible to make the most of the season’s healthier aspects (and yes, there are some!)
Instead of surrounding yourself with crisps, nuts and mince pies, why not go for healthier options like clementines, roast chestnuts or carrot and celery sticks with a low fat dip or salsa?
“Try figs or roast chestnuts,” suggests Vicky. “Rice cakes and breadsticks are also lower in fat than crisps. And one satsuma has almost 20% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin C. Not everything has to be creamy and high in fat.”
One good tip is to put out nibbles only as the guests are arriving so you’re not tempted to snack.