All the good stuff comes out at Christmas. The foil-covered chocolates, the honey-roasted nuts, the special edition crisps, the mince pies...
It seems everything about this festive celebration is designed to make healthy eating all the more difficult.
Everywhere you turn at Christmas time, there is a bowl of something crunchy, seasoned and high in saturated fat staring back at you.
Now it's time to make a stand against winter weight-gain and fight back with these healthy but simple Christmas tips...
Take it easy with the crisps and dips this year - you could be consuming hundreds or even thousands of calories before you've even started the main meal. Instead, fill a bowl with crunchy raw vegetable crudites, like cucumber, carrot and celery. Blend up some chick peas with lemon, garlic and beetroot and you have a simple, healthy, cheap hummus to dip them into.
If you just can't resist the chocolate, then go for dark over milk as it has less sugar, less fat and more antioxidants.
Forget about fatty pate or carb-packed french bread - instead, go for a lemon drizzled salad with delicious pieces of smoked salmon. Salmon is high in protein to keep you full and packed with omega 3 for a healthy heart.
Breast is best
When it comes to Christmas dinner, nothing beats a gamey bird like goose or duck. Unfortunately, these birds are extremely high in fat and you are advised to stick with the traditional turkey or chicken. Even then, it's best to opt for the white breast meat and avoid legs, wings and skin. However appetisingly crunchy they look, these parts of the bird are much higher in fat than the breast.
To flavour the breast meat, choose a scattering of herbs and a drizzle of lemon to avoid the need for salt.
Fill up on greens
The more carrots, sprouts, swede and cabbage you pile on your plate, the less room for you'll have for greasy meat and starchy potatoes. The more colourful your food, the better it is for you (as long as it's natural!)
You don't need to deprive yourself of pudding on Christmas day - that would just be cruel. Instead of cutting a great wedge of Christmas cake and smothering it with thick brandy butter and cream, arrange a big fruit platter with lots of exotic fruit like pineapple, mango, melon, grapes and a seasonal satsuma or two. Drizzle your fruit with custard made with skimmed milk rather than cream, and scatter with sultanas.
For nutrition information and to find a nutritionist to help you stay healthy this Christmas, please visit our Balanced Diet page.
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