WHETHER it's mince pies or copious amounts of cheese and wine, the festive season always brings challenges when it comes to weight loss.
But the good news is experts have revealed how you can lose weight and still enjoy Christmas – without giving up too many festive treats.
Christmas is a time where most of us tend to over indulge with extra portions of potatoes and never ending courses.
After a tough 2020 we all want to enjoy Christmas this year without feeling guilty.
Whether it's eating more turkey or sizing down on your mince pies, there are ways to have a guilt-free Christmas without dreading stepping on the scales when January rolls round.
Here are your 12 saves of Christmas.
1. Bring on the Brussels
While some of us might turn our noses up at extra Brussel sprouts with our roast dinner, experts say loading up your plate with these veggies could be useful.
Previous studies have suggested that eating foods likes sprouts rather than carrots is more beneficial to weight loss.
This is because sprouts are high in fibre and have a lower glycaemic load – this is how the carbs in your food affect your blood sugar levels.
The vegetables are also linked to healthier arteries.
2. Eat turkey
We all like loading our plate up with extra turkey and some even save their left overs for turkey curries or soups.
Experts say that turkey can help increase your muscle concentration.
It is also lower in fat than chicken and contains less salt than traditional Christmas meats such as pork.
So don't think twice before adding that extra slice, load up!
3. Watch your drinks
Festive hot chocolates, cream liquors and boozy brunches all mean added sugar to your diet.
While drinks like this are all high in calories – other standard tipples could be higher than you think.
Look to lower alcohol/alcohol free offerings to lower your calorie count and try and spread your drinks out with water to stay hydrated.
Speaking to The Sun, Ellie Webb, founder of non-alcoholic spirits brand Caleño said cutting down doesn't mean you have to compromise on taste.
She said: "Caleño’s Light & Zesty and Dark & Spicy are on average, only 20 calories per serve.
"That’s a fraction of a regular gin and tonic which can be as much as 170 calories!"
She added that if "you're looking for low-calorie alternatives" then alcohol-free drinks could be the way forward.
4. Enjoy the cheese board
Cheese is everywhere at Christmas, cheesecakes, cheese boards, it's cheese galore.
There are certain cheeses that are better though and eating stilton in small amounts could be the key to keeping your weight down this festive season.
It has around 120 calories per 30g and other cheeses such as brie and cheddar are also recommended as they can help gut health.
Helen Bond, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, told The Times that you can also add cheese to your mash can help your blood sugar levels.
She said: "You can add some high-flavour cheese, such as cheddar, to mashed potato to help to reduce the GI load of the starchy vegetable.
"That means it helps to reduce the blood sugar spike that can result in hunger pangs after eating."
5. Stay active
For some people Christmas means chilling out on the sofa – but many others will be used to frantically dashing around to try and see family and friends.
This Christmas coronavirus restrictions mean that people will be limiting social contact – so most people are likely to be staying in one place the whole festive season.
Researchers at Drexel University’s Center for Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science say you should aim for one hour of exercise a day.
This could be anything from taking the dog out – to walking around your neighbourhood with your new Christmas get up.
People who did an hour of exercise were found to have lowered their risk of overeating by half.
6. Switch to mini mince pies
Mince pies are a Christmas staple and whether you like them hot or cold – it's likely there's always some on the table.
A standard mince pie has around 253 calories and would weigh around 67 grams.
Mini mince pies weigh around 22 grams and are just 87 calories per serving.
7. Try dates
Sweets, cakes and chocolate, you're never far from a treat at Christmas and if you've got a sweet tooth you'll have lots of options to indulge in.
Eating dates boosts your microbiome – which is what helps with weight management.
They also have high levels of fibre which will help you feel fuller for longer.
8. Do you need that Christmas pud?
Christmas puddings are another traditional Christmas dish – but one small serving could set you back over 1,000 calories – and that's before you add your cream!
If you simply can't go without then try and keep portions small.
Try no more than 100g – which will be about 250 calories.
Many supermarkets also offer "no added sugar" or "reduced sugar" offerings.
9. Make your own sauces
Most people turn into culinary masters at Christmas and one way to show off – as well as keeping your calorie count down, is to make your own sauces.
Bottles and jars of sauce often have added sugars to preserve them and making your own can take away these addtional calories.
Fresh cranberries are low in calories and can reduce belly fat.
Making your own sauce to go with your Christmas dinner -with limited added ingredients can help you stay trim this festive season.
10. Snack on nuts
Snacking on nuts can be a great way to boost your protein levels and keep your energy up this festive season without reaching for sugary treats.
Brazil nuts keep blood sugar levels down and can help you stay fuller for longer, research has previously found.
Walnuts are another great option as they also help stem your appetite.
These nuts can help your brain alter the way it thinks about food and suppress feelings of hunger, Beth Israel at the Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said.
11. Get fruity
A piece of fruit in your stocking used to be a common Christmas treat.
Citrus fruits have been proven to help aid weight loss and are also a tasty festive snack.
Clementines are great this time of year as they are in season and most retailers sell them relatively cheap.
These little fruits are also high in vitamin C, fibre and are low in calories – a great snack before your Christmas dinner.
12. Don't be a piggy
Pigs in blankets are one festive treat that don't help when it comes to weight loss.
Both sausages and bacon are processed meats which are full of salt.
The British Nutrition Foundation recommends swapping the sausage for chestnuts.
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