It is that time of the year again – gorging on mince pies and pudding, enjoying a good drop of vino and partaking in all the merriment of Christmas. While it is generally acceptable to give in to our food cravings every now and then, many of us tend to overeat during the Yuletide celebrations and end up gaining a few pounds.
If you are planning on minimising the dreaded Christmas weight gain, here are some tips on keeping those calories away without completely depriving yourself of scrumptious seasonal goodies.
DECK THE HALLS – Decorating your home isn’t a particularly strenuous task, but is a great way to burn calories. Carrying heavy boxes full of ornaments, lugging the tree from your car to your home and putting up decorations for an hour can burn around 350 calories – that’s the equivalent of a mince pie with some cream.
WRAP IT UP – Wrapping gifts can be a lot more productive than you think. An hour’s worth of present wrapping can burn up to 120 calories. That’s one glass of champagne to celebrate!
PLAN AHEAD – Make a healthy shopping list and stick to it. Get snacks like plain popcorn, pretzels, and vegetable crudités accompanied by a low-fat dip. Never have more than one box of chocolates open at a time and keep unopened boxes out of sight to resist temptation.
COOKING UP A TREAT – With so much food to prepare, you will be pleased to hear that 30 minutes on your feet cooking up a Christmas meal will burn approximately 70 calories. Going back and forth to set the table will add more calories to your burn count.
HEALTHY OPTIONS – Taste does not need to be compromised when attempting to cook a healthy Christmas meal. Roast potatoes on a non-stick baking sheet or use an oil spray instead of smothering them in goose fat. Replace meat juices with vegetable stock when making gravy, or use a fruit-based stuffing option and low-fat milk for bread sauce.
Useful tip: Do make room for cranberry sauce – it is a fantastic source of beta-carotene which helps slow down the ageing process.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION – The buffet table is not your best friend this Christmas. Portion control is key, so choose a smaller plate and avoid dishes high in saturated fat like sausage rolls and quiche. Load up on fruit, skinless chicken, and pile the vegetables high; at least one third of the space on your dinner plate.
Useful tip: Drink at least a glass of water before heading off to a party. This will help suppress hunger and make you less likely to overeat.
FRESH AIR – After hefty lunches of roast turkey with all the trimmings, slip in a brisk walk to make room for Christmas pudding. A one hour walk after lunch will burn around 280 calories, which is equivalent to about 100g of Camembert cheese.
BOTTOMS DOWN – We all tend to knock back a few more glasses than usual around Christmas time so, at the very least, steer clear of sweet cocktails and creamy liqueurs. Have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to keep down the calorie count; it will also leave you with a clearer head the following morning.
CLEAN UP ACT – After all the celebrations are over, cleaning up will burn some leftover calories. Dusting for half an hour burns around 80 calories, mopping for 15 minutes burns around 70 calories, and vacuuming for 30 minutes will account for around 120 calories (equivalent to a glass of red wine), while the same time spent ironing will burn around 75 calories – about the equivalent of a mini quiche.
KEEP ACTIVE – People tend to get less active during holidays, so it is important to add some sort of exercise to your daily routine. A simple 30-minute walk will get the heart rate up and help burn extra calories.
THE FESTIVE CALORIE SWAP
A few switches will save you hundredsof calories…and a few inches on yourwaistline.
- Swap a gin and tonic (93 calories) fora gin and diet tonic (53 calories).
- Swap a serving of Christmas pudding with custard and brandy butter (587calories) for a serving of Christmaspudding by itself (330 calories)
- Swap a mince pie (240 calories) for aslice of chocolate log (185 calories).
- Swap a 30g wedge of Stilton cheese(120 calories) for a 30g wedge ofCamembert cheese (85 calories).
- Swap a handful of peanuts (180 calories) for a handful of olives (68 calories).
Source: The Expat December 2012
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