The Christmas season is fast approaching, and with it the endless canapés, buffet tables and three course meals, not to mention the booze. You don’t even have to wait until Christmas proper to start bursting out of that little black dress.

 

So how to best navigate the parties without piling on the extra pounds? Here are my top 7 Christmas survival tips:

1) The first and most important rule is to never go to a party on an empty stomach. You will not be able to make any sensible decisions about what and how much to eat when your tummy is rumbling and your nose is fine tuned to notice all the tantalising smells wafting from the trays of canapés being proffered to you.

Make sure you have a little snack which includes some protein to keep the hunger at bay for longer. If you are in a hurry, have some natural yoghurt with muesli or a few nuts and seeds with some chicken slices. If you have more time, go for a boiled egg with rye toast soldiers or a protein shake with fresh fruit.

2) At the party, avoid any deep fried canapés such as mini spring rolls and samosas, and go for the ones that include some protein. Look out for chicken satay sticks or cocktail sausages. They are simple, but will fill you up more quickly and keep you going for longer. If you can’t help picking on something see if there are some olives or nuts being offered. The fat they contain is actually good for you, and will not go straight to your hips. If all else fails go for anything with lots of vegetables!

3) Stock up on vegetables. The traditional Christmas meal actually has lots of vegetables, so don’t be shy to pile on the brussels sprouts and parsnips. Make sure half of your plate is full of a variety of vegetables to fill you whilst providing you with nutrients at the same time.

4) Be conscious of the alcohol! Match each glass of wine with a glass of water and you’ll feel much better the next day. As soon as you arrive at a party rehydrate with a glass of water first and get something to eat (if you have not done so already). Vodka, soda and fresh lime is probably the least calorific and sugar loaded drink if you are watching those pounds. And remember to pace yourself! Try not to start drinking too early!

5) Buy the healthier food options or make your own! Many supermarkets stock a range of healthier traditional Christmas foods such as gluten free mince pies, low sugar Christmas pudding and raw chocolate!! You can even make your healthier versions at home by swapping key ingredients such as white flour for brown rice flour, sugar for xylitol and dairy milk for soya, rice or almond milk. Check out some of the healthy recipes below to give you some ideas.

6) Stock up on a few supplements that help support your digestion and liver. Good choices here are a digestive enzyme to help break down the rich foods being consumed and some gentle liver support such as milk thistle. This will ease the load of the alcohol and if you take one tablet before drinking and one before you pass out it will help to keep your hang over at bay especially if swigged down with a peppermint tea.

7) Keep the exercise up. Try to do something small every day to compensate for the extra food you might be eating. It will also keep your spirits up and help to suppress appetite slightly. Going for a walks, bike rides or a swim are more enjoyable things to do over the Christmas period.

Lastly if you do overindulged and you would rather do a kick start in January then I will be running the Mini Detox from the beginning of 2012. This is a gentle 2 week cleanse which involves a cleansing diet and supplements to assist the detoxification pathways. It was really popular and effective last year so if you would like to try The Mini Detox for yourself then please click here for more information. 

Rosie Millen
Resident Nutritionist
The Health Quarter