Christmas 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. The 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. 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 again (26th, 27th etc). Remember weight maintenance at Christmas is success.
2. Christmas Day
- Trim the fat off the meat and skin off the turkey/chicken
- Seafood is the meat/protein – usually about ¼ calories of meat or chicken
- Eat more vegetables and salads
- For the nibbles on the table, chop up some carrots sticks/celery sticks and dip in humus
- Chose lower fat dips (salsa, humus, low fat Philadelphia etc) and avoid the high calorie ones (guacamole, avocado, French onion).
- Avoid nuts, biscuits and cakes. Try more filling foods: yoghurts, low fat custards and low fat cheese (Philadelphia, ricotta and cottage)
- Dessert: try meringues or Pavlova. Use fruit salad with yoghurt. If you have pudding, less is better
- 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.
- 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.
4. 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. Low carbohydrate beers (e.g. Pure Blonde, Hahn Superdry) and light alcohol beers (e.g. Cascade light) have a lot less kilojoules. There is also a sparkling wine (Yellow Glen Jewel) with about ½ of the kilojoules of champagne.
5. If you Overdo it, Make Amends
Do some type of exercise on Christmas day. Play some cricket after lunch.
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.