The festive season is a time when we all want to look and feel at our best so that we can enjoy time with friends and family. We all tend to ‘over-indulge’ a little, – not surprising with all the festive goodies and Christmas drinks offers at every turn in supermarkets, plus all those extra family and social get-together, office parties, etc., to attend!
Winchester Chiropractor, Max Atkinson wholeheartedly agrees with the saying “there is no wealth but health” but also points out that just because we want to balance our healthy eating priorities, we do not have to turn into ‘party poopers’ – even during the festive season! Below, you will find some of his top tips for staying in shape through Christmas, New Year and beyond!
Entertaining at Home
1. Busy working families who may have a greater reliance on ready-prepared foods, so check ingredients labels carefully. While labels showing low or reduced fat might be good, it is important to check for hydrogenated fats and avoid these as much as possible. Foods that have reduced sugar may also be good, but it is important that any additional sweetener used is a natural one such as stevia, not artificial ones such as aspartame.
2. When baking for Christmas, use healthier options wherever possible, look for organic ingredients, use whole-grain flour or a high-fibre gluten-free alternative if you need to avoid gluten.
3. Invest in a fat-separator jug when making gravy at home. Leaving the juices from the roasting tin to stand in a jug like this will allow the fat to rise to the surface allowing you to pour off the juices for your gravy, leaving the fat in the jug! These juices can be supplemented, (or replaced), with low sodium stock and thickened with cornflour instead of the traditional flour and butter roux.
4. Think about your cooking methods for ways of reducing fat consumption. Finger foods that are traditionally deep fried, taste just as good and crispy if baked on a baking parchment lined tray in a hot oven. When roasting vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips, always preheat the fat in the roasting dish by putting it in the oven for five minutes or so as adding the vegetables to hot fat will seal the outside quickly and stop them absorbing too much fat. Steaming vegetables will help to retain more flavour and avoid adding any extra salt.
5. Try some alternatives to the traditional Christmas pudding and mince pies. Delicious fruits can be used in a variety of ways and lower fat versions of cream are available that taste just as decadent!
Eating Out During The Festive Season
1. Parties and buffets often have delicious finger foods and canapés that are high in calories. It is a good idea to eat before you go out, choose something high fibre and healthy that will fill you up and help you resist over-eating!
2. At dinner parties and Christmas meals, eat slowly as it takes your brain around twenty minutes to register your tummy is full. Enjoy your meals, savour every bite and put your knife and fork down in between mouthfuls so that you can savour the conversation too. When loading your plate, add plenty of green vegetables and lean meat but fewer high fat items such as roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings. Choose a fruit or salad first course and opt for a low calorie dessert such as fresh fruit or a sorbet.
3. Do not deprive yourself of your favourite foods – if you really fancy a piece of that delicious chocolate gateaux, go ahead, but choose a small portion and eat it slowly with a cake fork – that way you will really savour every bite and be less tempted to go for seconds!
A Word About Drinks
Alcohol is abundant at most parties and get-togethers but limiting yourself to lower calorie options, having spritzer instead of a glass of white wine and drinking water in between will help. Soft drinks often have a lot of added sugar so choose carefully. An alternative option would be sparkling water, perhaps with some added lemon, lime or orange juice.
Give The Gift Of Health
There are many ideas for gifts for friends and family that will help them kick start their healthy New Year’s Resolutions. A Gym membership, gift vouchers for fitness classes, a pedometer, gym wear or a spa voucher are all welcome gift ideas.
While you are thinking about the gift of health, don’t forget your own! At this time of the year, many of us are going to parties, enjoying social occasions and perhaps taking to the dance floor for the first time since last year! Don’t neglect your back! Book yourself in for a wellness check at Bradford House Chiropractic and get any little ‘niggles’ checked out before something major goes wrong. Call us on 01962-861-188 and arrange your appointment today!