Information & Advice
Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor
Published 17th November 2008
On average, each of us gains around 5lb over the Christmas period! But resist the urge to start dieting with a vengeance. ‘Christmas is not the time to be seriously strict with yourself,’ says dietitian Nigel Denby, a website of resources on nutrition. ‘You’ll only end up over-eating later to make up for what you’ve denied yourself.’
If you’re having your office party at a restaurant, check the menu beforehand – most venues put them online – to see what healthy options are available. A snack before the big event will also stop you over-indulging later. ‘A couple of hours beforehand, have a low-fat yoghurt and a bowl of wholegrain cereal,’ says Nigel. ‘You’ll feel fuller for longer.’
That tiny little mince pie calling your name actually contains around 250 calories! So when you can, opt for healthier party snacks such as those in the Boots Shapers range. ‘Try replacing crisps with vegetable sticks and chestnuts, or substituting creamy dips for low-fat alternatives or tomato salsa,’ says Boots nutritionist Vicky Pennington. And don’t be too proud to bring your own nibbles along to the celebrations to ensure a healthy alternative.
If you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol will go straight into your bloodstream and the effects will hit you much quicker. Alcohol is also dehydrating and is laden with calories. Just one 125ml glass of sweet white wine contains about 120 calories! Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments and sip on soft drinks, fruit cordials or good old-fashioned water. Maintaining your water intake will also help avoid the hangover from hell the morning after.
There’s bound to be copious amounts of chocolate on offer throughout the Christmas festivities, but try going for the dark stuff. Research has confirmed that dark chocolate – in moderate amounts – can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. What’s not to like!
The average person wolfs down a whopping 6,000 calories on Christmas day, according to the British Dietetic Association. But you don’t have to follow the crowd. ‘Instead of roasting your potatoes, try mashing them using a low-fat cheese spread and wholegrain mustard for a tasty low-fat alternative,’ suggests Vicky. And microwaving or steaming your veggies will retain more vitamin C than if you boil the life out of them.
You’re not going to want to pound the treadmill when everyone else is partying, but just squeezing in 30 minutes of regular exercise a day will help burn off those extra calories. ‘This can be anything from dancing the night away at your Christmas party to doing your Christmas shopping around town,’ says Vicky. So no excuses!
If you do go calorie-crazy, don’t feel like a failure, just vow to try that bit harder next time. If your over-indulgence leads to indigestion. One option to consider is Bisodol Extra Strong Tablets. Always read the label.
Peppermint has also been used as far back as ancient Egyptian times to help aid digestion. Try Boots Feel the Difference Peppermint Oil, £5.49 for 60 capsules.
‘If you do over-indulge, simply eat less at your next meal and take it easy on calories the following day,’ says Nigel. As the old saying goes, ‘Everything in moderation.’
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