christmas eating tipsChristmas time means family, presents and of course, enjoying a lovely meal – or two!! A few big meals over the holiday season can lead to a few extra kilos that you don’t need.  It only takes an extra 2000-4000kJ/day each day for a week to gain 0.5-1.0kg. 2000kJ is the spring rolls or dim sims at the Christmas party. The big Christmas meal (pork, crackling and mixed vegetables) with a couple of glasses of wine is about 4000kJ. With a few functions can come a very tight belt buckle. So what are some of the success factors to enjoying a good Christmas and ensuring the only thing you keep is the Christmas presents?

  1. It is only one day. Even with a big day on Christmas day, most people will gain <0.5kg. Christmas day only has a big impact on your weight if you have it over and over gain (26th, 27th etc).
    1. Remember weight maintenance at Christmas is success
  2. Christmas day
    1. Trim the fat off the meat and skin off the turkey/chicken
    2. Seafood is the meat/protein – usually about ¼ calories of meat or chicken
    3. Eat more vegetables and salads
    4. For the nibbles on the table, chop up some carrots sticks/celery sticks and dip in humus
    5. Chose lower fat dips (salsa, humus, low fat Philadelphia etc) and avoid the high calorie ones (guacamole, avocado, French onion).
    6. Have one chocolate. Put it in your mouth and let it melt. Have a coffee in between to slow you down from eating
    7. Avoid nuts, biscuits and cakes. Try more filling foods: yoghurts, low fat custards and low fat cheese (Philadelphia, ricotta and cottage)
    8. Dessert: try meringues or Pavlova. Use fruit salad with yoghurt. If you have pudding, less is better
  3. PORTION SIZES: Watch the size of the meal
    1. Don’t eat all that is served up. Use a smaller plate and put less on it. If you can get into the habit of not eating all on your plate, you eat less
    2. If it is a 3 course meal, only have 2 courses. Even consider having two entrees and no dessert instead of what they serve up
  4. Drink more water: Drinking water can make you feel full and helps your body to metabolise foods. Aim to drink at least 2lt of water each day
  5. Eat slower: Studies have shown that people who eat slower, eat less food. So slow down when you eat. Chew each mouthful at least 30 times, put your knife and fork down between bites.
  6. Parties
    1. Avoid going hungry to parties. Eat something light before the party to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food. Some healthy snacks include a 200g tub of reduced fat yoghurt, a bowl of cereal or a cheese and tomato sandwich.
    2. At a party, sit/stand away from the food. People eat less when they sit furthest away from the food. They also eat less when they sit with their backs to the food. At parties where the host brings around the platter, only take something every 2nd Take only one thing at a time and eat it slowly
  7. Avoid the extra’s: extra’s like bread, sauces, hot chips etc often add unwanted kilojoules. When you order, ask them to not come with your meal. Or if they come, move them to the other end of the table, out of arms reach
  8. Drinks have kilojoules too. Try having a glass of water in between each drink. Also put your drink down between sips as you will drink slower. Sip on you drink and put it down between sips. You drink slower. Finally, try lower calorie drinks. Low carbohydrate beers (e.g. Pure Blonde, Hahn Superdry) and light alcohol beers (Forster Light Ice, Cascade light) have a lot less kilojoules. There is also a sparkling wine (Yellow Glen Jewel) with about ½ of the kilojoules of champagne
  9. If you over do it, make amends:
    1. Do some type of exercise on Christmas day. Play some cricket after lunch
    2. A good 45minute walk at a brisk pace for the average person, walks off about 750kJ. Use the next day to do some exercise
  10. New Year’s resolution: If all else fails, and you miss most of the above, make weight loss your New Year’s resolution. But you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes the support of a doctor or dietitian can set you in the right direction.