Mark Howard

Eat, drink and be merry- keep trim with these tips from Chistina Howell, nutritional expert

Eat Before you hit the party.

Skipping meals will often result in bingeing. If you have a party in the evening, make sure you eat two small meals and two balanced snacks beforehand, to maintain your blood sugar levels. Eat half an avocado and some crayfish, or a matchbox portion of hummus with two oatcakes before a party – this will reduce the likelihood of you heading straight to find food.

Get the ratios right

It’s often the amount we eat that is the real problem. Aim to make vegetables the largest portion on your plate. A portion of carbohydrates need be no bigger than a tight fist, and protein the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. Luckily, our Christmas tradition is to have turkey, which is good for you. If you don’t eat meat, salmon is a great alternative and is full of essential fats.

Chew on it

It takes an average of 15 to 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain that it’s full. By then it may be too late, because you have taken a second helping of Christmas pudding. Take time to chew, pay attention to what Auntie Mildred is waffling on about and it may just pay off in your favour.

Avoid fatty snacks

Watch out for calorie-laden treats such as mince pies. These are the little extras we can do without. Remember, Christmas is a social time of year, so rather than dive for the buffet spend more time chatting and dancing. At the dinner table don’t be afraid to say no to seconds. If you say, ‘No, thanks,’ and don’t give an explanation, people tend not to ask any more questions. As soon as you say, ‘It’s because I’m watching my weight,’ they’ll say, ‘Go on, have another potato.’ Stick to your guns.

Watch your alcohol intake

Alcohol contains useless calories that disrupt your blood sugar levels and increase appetite. This is why you crave sugar when you have a hangover. You don’t have to be a saint but, if you’re going to drink, try to limit your intake and have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.

Move your body

You don’t need to do a full workout on Christmas Day but a walk after lunch will definitely make you feel better. As soon as you stop exercising for a period of time you feel more tired and more inclined to think, ‘Oh well, I may as well eat and drink what I want.’ If you keep yourself active, come January you won’t find it difficult to get back into your normal routine.

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