December has arrived and with it the inevitable round of Christmas parties and ‘dos’ to attend.
There have been some crazy diets offered up this year, my two personal favourites being the BREATHARIAN DIET which involves pretending to eat the food on the plate in front of you instead of actually eating, filling up by gulping air. Apparently devotees believe that they do not need to eat food or drink any liquids because they can achieve sustenance from air and/or sunlight alone. The second is the ALCOREXIA/DRUNKOREXIA DIET where people eat very low calories during the day or week thereby ‘saving’ up calories that can be consumed as alcohol during the weekend. I hardly need say that both of these so called ‘diets’ are extremely damaging to your health and indicate the extremes that people will go to in an effort to lose weight.
So how can you try to keep the calories under control during this festive season? I have written a couple of blogs already on this subject that can be found in the blogs section of the website (put Christmas into the search bar and they will pop up). Here is a quick and easy guide to help you avoid over-indulging:
Avoid the bread basket at all costs! If you have to eat something while waiting for your meal, choose a breadstick instead but better to go without.
- Choose a soup to start your meal. This is a great way of filling up so you are less likely to overeat on your main course.
- Salads with smoked fish are a healthier option. Ask for any dressing to be served separately or request a simple drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar.
- Avoid anything that is either deep fried or coated with breadcrumbs or smothered in mayonnaise.
- For your main course select roast or grilled meats, fish or poultry. Again, you can ask for any gravy or sauce to be served separately so you can control how much you have. Try to avoid anything that has breadcrumbs or batter or is encased in pastry. If you are a vegetarian, the choice may be more limited but many restaurants will be happy to help you with your dietary requirements.
- Go easy on roast potatoes and parsnips which are starch veg, filling up on green vegetables instead.
- Don’t have seconds!
- Desserts are a bit of minefield. Christmas pud with brandy butter, cheesecake, anything choclatey or tiramisu is loaded with sugar and calories so something fruity would be a better option. If you really can’t resist, why not share a pudding with a friend so you can at least enjoy a couple of spoonfuls.
Avoid going to parties feeling hungry! You will be much more likely to pick at anything that is available especially after a couple of drinks. So eat a healthy snack or small meal to keep you feeling full.
- Avoid snacks such as salted nuts or crisps. Plain nuts and seeds are full of beneficial fats, vitamins and minerals but don’t eat too many. Crudites with dips such as hummous or guacamole are good option. Although nuts contain saturated fats, they are also laden with vitamins and minerals so a few here and there are a good choice – provided you choose the unsalted variety!
- Olives, both green and black contain important levels of vitamins A and E and minerals. The oleic acid found in olives has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Try to choose ones that are either unmarinated or marinated in olive oil.
- Select canapés with smoked salmon, an oily fish rich in Omega 3 oils. Pates containing smoked mackerel or trout also fit this bill.
I am not going to suggest that you abstain from drinking over the festive season but your body (especially your head) will appreciate a little forethought! Don’t feel the need to drink every day throughout the holiday – giving your liver a break will pay dividends.
- Alternate your alcoholic drinks with plain or mineral water
- Stick to one kind of alcohol rather than mixing it up
- Mineral water can be added to wine to make a spritzer – dilute half and half
- If you are drinking shorts, dilute with plenty of ice and mineral water
However, if you feel that you have definitely overindulged, invest in some milk thistle and a good quality multivitamin and mineral (please check with a GP if you are taking any medications or have health issues). Probiotics can also be useful if your digestive system is struggling.
If you need some help with getting your diet back on track in the New Year, contact Pippa Mitchell our Nutritional Therapist who can devise a tailor made programme especially for you that involves sensible and safe advice – no gulping air!!