An indulgent time of the year doesn’t mean you need to give up your goals and everything you’ve worked towards for the rest of the year. Although we all tend to overindulge during Christmas it is advisable to keep account of how much, what and when we eat during the festive season. This calorie control method could save you countless hours at the gym post Christmas!
According to some studies the average person can eat up to around 5000 calories on Christmas Day this includes dinner, drinks and deserts – that’s as much as 2/3 days worth of calories in one go! It is not only bad for our digestion but also can affect our weight which can be difficult to shed post Christmas.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your calorie intake in check without loosing the enjoyment of eating Christmas foods:
Eat a substantially large snack before leaving for the Christmas dinner – this will make you more satisfied, help to control your appetite and keep your servings smaller. You will be less likely to crave calorie rich foods such as sugary and fatty foods.
Fill your plate with vegetables and salad before you reach for the mince pie or beef roast. Vegetables are a good source of fibre which makes you feel fuller leaving less space for calorie rich foods. Staying hungry is another mistake you can make during this time as it causes uncontrolled binging later in the day.
Drink more water. Increasing your water intake throughout the day is the simplest and most effective way to reduce your hunger cravings and reduce your overall calorie intake.
Chew slowly. One study found that chewing after each bite for 30 seconds reduced snacking later on. Try to chew your food thoroughly and don’t rush your meal. Chewing your food for longer breaks it down which helps your stomach to digest it. In addition, when you eat slowly, you will trigger your brain to signal your stomach to let digestion begin. So, not only is your appetite satisfied but so is your sense of efficiency! You will enjoy literally every bite of your meal and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Wait a few minutes before going in for seconds! It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send the signal to your brain that you are satiated and no longer hungry. So before you decide to top up your plate take a 10 minute break and if you are still not satisfied, you can opt for a second very small serving!
Be selective. Some treats are sweeter and contain a large amount of sugar and fat. You may find it is easier to resist temptation when you know how many calories there are in particular deserts. For example a single serving of Christmas pudding contains between 350 and 500 calories! If you are likely to overindulge during the Christmas season, understanding how many calories there are in your favourite treats, may help you to resist temptation or reduce your portion size.
Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Christmas!
Magdalena Marvell is a Nutritional Practitioner and Founder of the Persea Clinic which helps support clients who want to optimise their health in areas such as gut health, hormonal balance, skin conditions, weight management, family nutrition. To find out more about her work please visit www.persea.clinic.