The season of excessive consumption is upon us once more, and for a lot of people, Christmas means one thing: Eating. A lot. With a spot of drinking on the side. However, the average woman gains five pounds over Christmas, and the average Brit consumes a whopping 7,000 calories on Christmas Day itself! What a greedy bunch we are.
If these statistics fill you with dread, never fear! You don’t have to deny yourself all these goodies to ensure you don’t return to uni twice the size you were before the holidays. Here’s how you can enjoy the festive treats of Christmas without piling on the pounds:
Take the tops off mince pies
They’re a Christmas must-eat, but unfortunately aren’t the most waistline-friendly of festive snacks. However, by removing the pastry top you can save a third of the calories!
When treating yourself to one of the many holiday specialities on offer at coffee shops at this time of year, skip the whipped cream and ask for skimmed milk instead of full-fat. This can save you up to 200 calories on a praline mocha!
Eat more Brussels sprouts
The Marmite of the Christmas meal, sprouts have been known to divide meals and even families. Not only are they high in nutrients and fibre and low in calories and fat, Brussels sprouts also help your body produce more adiponectin, a hormone that breaks down fatty acids.
Choose dark chocolate
Eating dark chocolate is actually good for you. No joke. It’s full of antioxidants and helps control blood sugar, so next time the Quality Street tin comes out, choose the dark choccies instead of milk for a healthier option.
Take the skin off your turkey
A lean meat already; you can save an extra 40 calories or so by removing the skin of your turkey.
Don’t drink your calories
As students, most of us are familiar with the general jeans-tightening caused by alcohol. Drink Prosecco (120ml is 80kcal) - or Champagne if your parents are paying - instead of creamy liquors (37ml Baileys Irish Cream is 129kcal) or mulled wine (120ml is 190kcal).
Only eat four bites of each food
The first few bites of any food are always the most satisfying, so if there are lots of things you want to try at a party, have four bites of each then move on.
Don’t leave serving dishes on the table
If you’ve got friends and family round for a Christmas meal, you’ll be far more tempted to eat yourself silly if the serving dishes are on the table in front of you than if they’re not. Do everyone a favour and remove temptation - studies have shown you could consume about 20% less as a result.
Have your cake and eat it
…without the calorific extras! By enjoying your Christmas pudding without cream, custard or brandy butter, you can save a lot of calories. Or if that sounds a bit boring by itself, go for low-fat custard instead of brandy butter to save around 120 calories.
The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas story, and walnuts are a seasonal fave in many households. Conveniently, said nuts help you burn fat around 60% quicker than other snacks thanks to the large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids they contain.
No it’s not an old wives’ tale. The longer you chew each mouthful of Christmassy deliciousness for, the less you’ll eat overall as it takes time for your brain to register feeling full. No-one wants to be that person who finishes first either.
Only take one plateful of party food
The trouble with canapés and buffets at Christmas parties is that they make it very easy to eat way more than one meal’s worth. Fill your plate once and don’t go back to the food again. Easier said than done, we know.
Go for a walk straight after eating
We all know that walking is good for us, but you may not know that you’ll burn more calories if you go straight after a meal. Provided you’re not lying on the floor in a post-turkey food coma, that is. Don't worry, we’ve all been there.