Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A little bit of what you fancy this Christmas

Each year, the Christmas period seems to start earlier and earlier. Be it Starbucks’ latest insulin-spiking latte, the supermarket’s Christmas sarnies or just the general air of gluttony, it can be difficult trying to maintain any kind of dietary decorum. Thankfully all hope is not lost.

Most of us can agree that indulgent food and drink is a given this time of year. While we’re not about to suggest fasting through the turkey and trimmings, we don’t think stuffing yourself into stupor is a good idea either. Regular readers will know we’re big advocates of balance, especially when applied to healthy eating and exercise. Studies show that denying oneself or adhering to an overly restrictive diet is often setting up for failure. The solution comes from the oft-quoted adage – a little bit of what you fancy. While that’s sound advice most of the year, things get more difficult at Christmas. All those little somethings can add up.

Recently, dieticians, nutritionists and health influencers alike have adopted a back-to-basics approach, searching for balance, yes, but also offering people practical easy-to-follow advice. This includes doing away with calorie counting and instead using simple, reliable measures to ensure that every plate is balanced and nutritious. Next time you find yourself obsessively counting calories and feeling miserable, just remember there’s better way. The size of your palm determines protein portions, while your fist determines veggies. A cupped hand, meanwhile, is your carb allowance with fat determined by your thumb. It’s a quick, easy to remember method that you’ll always have to (ahem) hand. And it’s a formula that can absolutely be applied to the Christmas dinner.

Credit: Magdanatka

Let’s be honest here, the Christmas dinner, however delicious, is a glorified roast. One of the best things about roasts, though, is that they typically boast a lot of vegetables. Indeed, some of our festive favourites are veggies, from roasted parsnips and mashed squash to the much-maligned brussels sprouts. Traditionally, turkey is the protein of choice for the big day and, being as it’s a lean low-fat meat, it’s one of the healthier choices available. However, with a third of Brits now living a vegan or flexitarian diet, turkey might this year be replaced with a nut roast or plant-based facsimile. For some, though, it’s not a Christmas dinner without pigs in blankets. Here’s where the ‘little bit of what you fancy’ comes into play. Adding a few little indulgences to a plate loaded with veggies and lean protein is no bad thing. Things get trickier with all the tasty snacks and those decedent desserts, but portion size is the important thing to bear in mind. Try eating slower too, because you don’t immediately feel full when you are.

Credit: Eternalfeelings

But for many of us, it’s not so much the food, but the drink. It should come as no surprise that alcohol has a lot of calories. Fortunately, not everything is as calorific as the typical port and sherry we enjoy this time of year. Spirits, while higher in alcohol content, are often a lot lower in calories. Mixing them with a diet sodas and tonics means you can enjoy a tipple without piling on the pounds. Try using half measures and spacing your drinks out. This has the added benefit of not getting too drunk and embarrassing anyone.

If avoiding eating to excess is a challenge this time of year, then getting enough exercise in can feel like an impossibility. It’s best to do away with this guilt however, because it will only create a downward spiral. Say you haven’t exercised for a week, you may wind up thinking that you’ve blown it so what’s the point in starting now. There is always a point and for a lot of us, it’s never too late. A simple way to start is by enjoying a walk after your meals, be that breakfast or dinner. There’s nothing quite like wrapping up warm and braving the cold. In many houses, the post-Christmas dinner walk is a tradition. If it’s not already, make 2018 the year you start.

Credit: ilian i

There are a few clever little ways you can inject more exercise over the festive period. An easy one for parents is to buy the kids some sporting equipment or, perhaps, a new bike. Not only will this encourage the little ones to get moving, but you’ll also be inspired to get out there with them. Similarly, you can gift loved ones and relatives with sporty goods or even a gym membership to kickstart their own exercise turnaround.

Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that healthy eating and exercise are forfeit. You can celebrate, have a little of what you fancy whilst also being sensible. Too many of us chalk Christmas up as being an inevitable indulgence but as we’ve already shown, it doesn’t have to be. You can enjoy the best of both worlds. We’ll drink to that.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £27.55 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.


Latest posts

CEMEX to mothball South Ferriby cement plant

Following a period of consultation with Employee Representatives and Unite the Union, CEMEX has confirmed it will mothball its South Ferriby Cement Plant. This will...

O’Brien’s Opticians – purveyors of luxury eyewear since 1979

O’Brien’s Opticians has been located on Wrawby Street in Brigg for over 40 years. A nationally recognised and acclaimed practice being runner-up in the...

Huge heap of waste dumped near Fulbeck

An appeal for information has been launched by South Kesteven District Council after a huge heap of rubbish was found dumped near Fulbeck. SKDC's Environmental...

Past week sees 42 new local cases of COVID-19

42 new cases of Coronavirus have been reported locally in the past week. While on Sunday 5 July a total of 3,341 cases had been...

Step inside this serene family home

Boasting open farmland views of Fenland Countryside, this idyllic detached period farmhouse is placed on a 0.65-acre plot down a quiet lane, close to...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.