Christmas, a time that even the healthiest of individuals resign themselves to gaining a few pounds. A time where diets and fitness plans seem to fall very low on the priority list. However, keeping healthy over the Christmas break doesn’t have to be the hair in your soup. Here at New Forest Health and Leisure we have devised a few helpful tips to keep you on top of those fitness goals.
Tasty seasonal snacks can all add up to a much larger calorific score than you would expect. One top tip is to stop buying ‘family sharing’ biscuit tins, if it’s in the house and in bulk you’ll find it much harder to fight the urge. Also why not swap salted peanuts for unsalted nut options? Unsalted cashews, peanuts and walnuts all contain healthy fats that our bodies need. Vegetable sticks and low fat dips are a great way of dodging all those moreish crisps.
A festive drink (or two), is an integral part of the Christmas festivity. Nevertheless alcoholic drinks hold ’empty calories’ meaning that they have no nutritional value for our bodies. Before you think us boring, try swapping high calorie drinks, such as beer, for low calorie spirits such as gin, rum and vodka. This is also a great excuse to buy champagne as it has a lot less sugar content than wine. Bottoms up!
Okay, here’s the big one. Every year we cook so much food it lasts 2 days to eat (or a whole fortnight of turkey sandwiches..). Firstly, try and limit yourself to one plate instead of repeat visits. If you are still hungry after your first plateful wait ten minutes and you might find as you begin to digest you realise you’re much fuller than you thought. Another puzzling issue is not how much but what to eat. Lets break it down a little to steer you in the right direction.
Meat– Turkey is one of the leanest meats, its rich in protein and fat-soluble vitamins and contains little fat, definitely a good option if you are watching the pounds over Christmas.
Veg – Greens. Yes, even you Brussels! We obviously suggest that you have as many green or low carb vegetables as you like. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and peas are nothing but good for you and will help you feel fuller again without that bloated feeling. Also try cooking your veg in a minimum amount of time and water, which you can then use in your gravy, that way you keep all the goodness from the veg and make healthy gravy!
Carbs – We are not just talking about potatoes here, we are also talking about parsnips and other high starch vegetables. Carbs are the main reason as to why you may feel bloated, this is because they are your bodies fuel and you don’t need much of that on Christmas day as you’re probably doing very little. Why not swap normal roast potatoes for roasted sweet potatoes; these are higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals. You can also try spraying them lightly with oil rather than smothering them in goose fat, this way you will still get the crunch without the guilt.
Pudding– Although Christmas pudding is high in calories, it is also high in fibre, potassium, calcium and magnesium (not including the occasional penny). This means you can still enjoy your favourite festive puds in moderation. We suggest trying it with custard or low-fat crème fraiche, instead of brandy butter and full fat cream.
So you’ve opened your presents and resisted that second sitting of Christmas lunch, instead of sitting down and falling asleep by a roaring fire and Christmas TV specials, why don’t you switch things up a bit? Wrap up warm and drag the family – dogs/cats/rabbits included – out for a brisk walk to burn off those extra mince pies. If you’re feeling really adventurous this winter you can even take your family out for a quick half hour jog. Don’t forget our Health and Leisure centres are open over the Christmas period excluding Christmas day, Boxing day and New Years day, so you can always pop in for a quick swim or gym session. For more details on opening times during the festive season visit http://www.newforest.gov.uk/healthandleisure/
And last but not least…
Christmas is a time for celebration. So for goodness sake, pour yourself a drink, meet up with friends, enjoy your time with family and make the holiday season a happy memorable one. You CAN indulge this Christmas – just everything in moderation. Enjoy and be merry.