If you’re anything like me, you’ve already ordered your turkey and you’re starting to pack the cupboards full of your usual Christmas goodies.
But STOP! Wait a moment.
Remember, this is the time of year when you always pile on the pounds. The time of year when you end up eating far more than you need to and then feeling guilty afterward.
Every Christmas Day, I bet you leave the table feeling as stuffed as the turkey was a few hours before and then you’re eating again before you know it.
Nuts, figs, chocolates, biscuits, mince pies, Christmas cake. You name it, you’re eating it because it’s there and because you always do it at Christmas.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the habits of a lifetime!
So here are 10 top tips for creating a healthy Christmas Menu:-
1. Think twice before stocking up the cupboards with things you would never normally buy.
Do you really need that huge tin of Quality Street or Roses chocolates?
Are people really bothered whether you have Belgian biscuits in the house?
Do you really want such a big Christmas Cake? (We used to end up throwing ours away at Easter every year before we bought smaller ones!)
2. Resist the temptation of all the buy one, get one half price and BOGOF (buy one, get one free) deals around at the moment.
We all love a bargain and can easily get lured into this trap, especially as we tend to be in a generous spirit at this time of year.
The supermarkets know it and that’s what they’re relying on to get you spending more money with them.
3. Treat Christmas as two or three days, not a week or even two weeks.
Eat your normal healthy diet leading up to Christmas and after Boxing Day.
Then, get the relatives to take home all the unhealthy stuff, so there are fewer temptations around once Christmas is over.
4. On Christmas Day itself, if you want to have a cooked breakfast as a treat go for poached eggs on a wholemeal muffin with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. Scrummy!
5. At Christmas lunch, portion size is the killer.
Somehow we always feel we have to pile our plate high and/or have that second and third helping, no matter how full we are.
Eat slowly and stop when you are full. That way you might be able to enjoy the rest of the day rather than feeling bloated or suffering from horrible indigestion!
6. However large the portion, ensure that 50% of your plate is made up of vegetables.
Minimize roasted vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips and increase the vegetables that have been steamed or boiled such as carrots, Brussel sprouts, and peas.
7. The traditional turkey is the best meat choice. It’s lower in fat and higher in protein than goose or duck – just ensure you avoid the skin.
8. Watch out for all the extra calories – stuffing, bread sauce, cranberry sauce – they all mount up.
Either just have one accompaniment or very small portions of each.
9. Similarly with the likes of Christmas pudding (my downfall!) and Christmas cake.
Don’t deny yourself it, if you love it. Just have a little taste to really savor and go easy on the cream and brandy butter!
10. Last but not least – alcohol.
The best thing to drink is champagne or dry cava so you can celebrate in style!
However, as always, remember it’s everything in moderation.
Otherwise drink long drinks such as vodka or gin with low-calorie tonic and always alternate with large glasses of water.
So, 10 top tips for creating a healthy Christmas menu and you don’t need to feel that you are missing out on a thing.
The great news is that the usual success strategies apply. Christmas doesn’t need to be any different. Have plenty of healthy food in the house so you always have healthy options, watch your portion sizes and eat/drink more of the healthy options than the unhealthy ones! Enjoy!