Wednesday 18 September 2019

Enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds

The holiday season is all about family, friends, celebrating and sometimes overindulging. But you can maintain your weight during the festive winter month while enjoying yourself, says our resident dietitian Orla Walsh

Dish out only what you need on your plate and don't overfill it
Dish out only what you need on your plate and don't overfill it

Orla Walsh

The weight gain that many experience around Christmas cannot be blamed solely on Christmas dinner. In fact, it's much more likely to be the result of Christmas excess in the lead-up to the day itself, as well as the weeks that follow with leftovers galore. Here are my top tips to help maintain your weight this festive season.

Only buy what you need

It's common for households to be left with boxes of chocolates or left-over treats after Christmas Day has been celebrated. Munching on these extra treat foods can often be blamed for the additional weight gain. For example, each chocolate contains 75 calories, similar to the number of calories found in a slice of bread. Eaten in seconds, sometimes without the full enjoyment being experienced, the numbers can mount up. A healthy and economical step is to simply buy only what you need.

So take a pen and paper, tally it up and head to do your Christmas food shopping with a list in hand.

Careful with liquid calories

When it comes to buying only what is needed, this advice includes alcohol and calorie-laden drinks too.

When it comes to the calorie content of alcohol or drinks, people can consume them without a seconds thought. For example, if you ate two slices of toast every 30-60 minutes, all night long, you might take notice of how much you were consuming. However, those two slices of toast contain the same amount of calories, if not more, than some beverages such as, a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Whether you want to hear it or not, you need to be mindful of the amount of calories within drinks.

Walk more

Christmas is, in part, a festive period with delicious food that we all should enjoy. However, if you want to prevent weight gain, while still eating a little of what you fancy, perhaps moving your body more is a simple solution. Walking is a free form of exercise that most of us are well able for. A woman might burn five calories per minute walking, while a man will burn six to seven calories per minute walking. This will add up. Simple tricks include;

⬤ Use the bathroom furthest away from your desk while at work.

⬤Walk and talk while on your mobile.

⬤ Walk as transport, or at least walk some of the way.

⬤ If you buy coffee with a friend or colleague, make sure it's a takeaway coffee. This way you can walk, talk and drink.

⬤ Take the batteries out of the TV controller. Every time you want to change the channel you'll have to move.

Mindfully munch

Most of us look forward to our favourite Christmas foods. Whether it's Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or Christmas dinner, it's important to savour each bite.

Before taking a mouthful, start the digestion process with really looking at your favourite food. After you've noticed its unique texture and colour, mentally acknowledge its delicious aroma.

In fact, when you bite into it, or cut a slice, you may even notice its unique sound. Take small bites, letting it sit in your mouth for a moment before you start to chew. Chew your food well, taking in breaths through your nose to enhance the flavour. Notice how the texture and taste change with every chew. After swallowing, allow yourself time to enjoy the leftover delicious taste lingering in your mouth.

Food is one of the most enjoyable experiences, evoking all our senses. So make each mouthful count and be sure to experience the joy of eating to the maximum.

 

Food: How many calories?

* CRISPS

Crisps, medium portion (55g)

275 calories = 39-55 mins walking

Three pretzels

50 calories = 7-10 mins walking

Ten tortilla chips (50g)

230 calories = 33-46 mins walking

* CHOCOLATE & sweets

Three squares of chocolate

85 calories = 12-17 mins walking

Four Jelly Babies

85 calories = 12-17 mins walking

One Bakewell tart

205 calories = 29-41 mins walking

Christmas cake one small slice (60g)

205 calories = 29-41 mins walking

One mince pie

240 calories = 34-41 mins walking

Apple pie, 160g slice

430 calories = 61-86 mins walking

Banoffee, 135g slice

425 calories = 60-85 mins walking

Brownie, 125g slice

645 calories = 92-129 mins walking

Cheesecake, 150g slice

440calories = 63-88 mins walking

Christmas pudding, 105g serve

300 calories = 43-60 mins walking

* Custard & ice-cream

Custard, one small serving

70 calories = 10-14 mins walking

Ice cream, one scoop

70 calories = 10-14 mins walking

Cream 1 tbsp

30 calories = 4-6 mins walking

Four profiteroles

280 calories = 40-56 mins walking

* Cheese

Brie, 50g

170 calories = 24-34 mins walking

Camembert, 50g

145 calories = 21-29 mins walking

Stilton, 50g

205 calories = 29-41 mins walking

Wensleydale, 50g

190 calories = 27-38 mins walking

* Nibbles

One chicken satay skewer

75 calories = 11-15 mins walking

One small spring roll

60 calories 9-12 mins walking

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