As that time of year looms once more we all have a right to feel a tad panicky about our waistlines. It can be a minefield of starchy carbs and too much sugar, just one more drink at the office party or simply not enough sleep. Studies show that we are at risk of gaining anywhere between 5 and 10 pounds between November and January and sadly it often takes more than two months to lose it again. But fear not, a little strategic planning and a degree of caution can make a huge impact. In the name of self and waistline preservation you can still have a great time this Christmas and reduce the chances of carting excess baggage into 2016.
In winter, like ourselves, our metabolism can become sluggish as we retreat indoors to avoid the cold. While we eat more and move less this can impact how quickly our food is digested. Eating magnesium rich snacks at regular intervals throughout the day will help maintain that calorie-munching muscle to thwart food cravings that may be interfering with your desire to stay slim. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews and sunflower seeds are all high in magnesium and will keep your metabolism pumping.
The last thing you need during a season of never-ending parties, shopping trips and family get-togethers is to be knocked down by illness. Infection is rife at this time of year but by keeping your zinc levels up it will help boost your immune system to combat that dreaded cold or flu. Shiitake and chestnut mushrooms are packed full of zinc so why not make a vat of my rich and delicious mushroom soup (pictured below). You can freeze in portions for an easy way to stock up on flu fighting nutrients.
Only at Christmas will you find a big tin of sweets or chocolates on the reception desk of every hairdressers, nail parlour, bank, building society and print shops. As kind a gesture as this is, it means you have to keep your wits about you when your focus is staying slim. These little morsels of Christmas cheer won’t just add to your waistline but will give you a ‘sugar drop’ later in the day making you reach for more of the same. For a natural sugar alternative with all the ‘buzz’ but none of the guilt have two or three dates when temptation strikes. Bonus points for the ones stuffed with almonds or pistachios to add some protein to your snack.
Alcohol is the silent killer of a calorie controlled diet as most people don’t realise how sugary their favourite tipple can be. Choosing the right drink or two to consume this festive season can save you a lot of work later in that goal to stay slim so don’t be swayed by what friends or colleagues are having. It’s time for you to make some decisions now as you may be less diplomatic as the night progresses! My top choices are: extra dry champagne 98kcals, dry white wine spritzer 100kcals, Kir Royale 121kcals, rich red wine 120kcals, vodka martini 117kcals, vodka, lime and soda 120kcals, Bloody Mary 86kcals, Manhattan 130kcals and Screwdriver 175kcals and don’t forget to have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
Another one to watch while partying are carb heavy canapes. Avoid those dangerous little delights by drinking lots of sparkling water with ice and lemon, the fizz will fill you up. Work the room and talk a lot - the more you talk, the less you eat. If you do give in to temptation look for the ones with the most colour (fruits, vegetables, shellfish, lean meats) and avoid the beige starchy stuff as they can really add up. Examples of these would be: mini sausage rolls 40 kcals, mini quiche 75 kcals, mini spring rolls 80 kcals, ʻpigs in blanketsʼ 65 kcals, mini crostini 75 kcals, cone skinny fries 180 kcals.
’ll be rolling out more tips and advice to stay slim this Christmas over the coming weeks so stay tuned!
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