How to survive the holiday eating season
For those who are trying to eat healthy and manage their weight, the holiday season can prove to be daunting. There’s no need to descend into anxiety over navigating a minefield of festive over-indulgence, or resign yourself to missing out on holiday memories. With our Christmas health hacks, you can easily cut at least 500 calories from your traditional Christmas dinner – all without sacrificing the taste!
Turkey is a great source of protein and can be a very healthy choice if you remove the skin. The skin on a turkey, or any other roasted poultry, is where most of the fat is. Removing the skin can save you around 40 calories per portion. If you choose parts of light meat, it also has slightly fewer calories than dark meat – breast is a smarter choice than leg or thigh.
Potatoes are fat-free, cholesterol free, low sodium and a great source of carbohydrates. However, festive roast potatoes are cooked in oil or other fats, so swap them for baked potatoes. This way you don’t have to sacrifice taste, but are choosing a much more heart-healthy option and avoiding excess calories.
Choosing a chestnut or fruit-based stuffing is the smarter choice this festive season. Chestnuts are high in fiber, which will help to reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. They are also loaded with vitamins B and C.
Gravy is delicious and can be fatty, but luckily, you can make a low-fat version that will taste just as good! Just pour the excess turkey juices into a jug – the fat will rise to the surface, and you can remove it before using the juices to make gravy. Just keep in mind that gravy can also be high in sodium, and too much salt may increase blood pressure – so if you have gravy, skip adding table salt to your malt to ensure your sodium intake is conotrolled.
Serving plenty of vegetables at Christmas dinner can be a great option to fill you up while still staying healthy, as long as you don’t smother them in butter. Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to protect you against heart disease and cancer. Sprouts and a number of other vegetables also contain fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy. Make sure to load your plate up with veggies, and eat them first!
Bread sauce can be calorific – but you can easily cut the calories by simply using semi-skimmed milk to make it. Add a clove of garlic to the milk to add flavor and you’ll be surprised by how tasty low-fat can be!
Christmas pudding is very high in sugar and calories, so make sure you limit yourself to just one small portion. Replacing brandy butter or double cream with fat-free Greek yogurt will also give you a good calcium and protein boost, without all the calories.
If you follow our health hacks, you could save more than 500 calories from the traditional Christmas dinner and cut down your fat intake, which will help to stop any potential festive weight gain. Our suggestions prove that you don’t have to deny yourself to maintain your focus on healthy eating through the holidays.
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