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Friday 13 December 2013

Stay healthy this holiday

We spoke to Kelly Johnson, Health Promotion Officer for Solent Health Spark, to find out how to find the right balance this Christmas.

The Christmas break is almost upon us, a time of year where we spend much of it celebrating with family and friends. It also means lots of parties and the potential for temptation and over indulgence! In our article, we will help you to find the right balance over Christmas.

Why do you think people find it so tough to stay healthy over the festive season?

As well as spending time with loved ones, and giving and receiving of presents, Christmas is associated with food! Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, sweets, chocolates and cheese! Research has shown that the average person consumes around 6,000 calories on Christmas day which is enough food for a woman for three whole days! With so many treats around and temptation to sit in front of the television, its easy to get into bad habits. Weight gain is almost inevitable, but by making some simple changes you can ensure a healthy and enjoyable festival period.

Can you suggest some healthier options/versions to the traditional Christmas food?

The calories in snacks can quickly mount up. A single mince pie is around 250 calories. Have a few of those, with cream and you are almost at your daily limit.

Breadsticks and crisps can be really high in calories and fat too, instead, why not try fresh vegetables with low fat dips. Chestnuts, dates and satsuma’s also make healthy, seasonal snacks.

For Christmas lunch, why not add a healthy starter of soup, smoked salmon or fruit, load up on fresh steamed vegetables. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein so feel free to have an extra slice or two. Roast the potatoes using a vegetable oil spray, olive oil or sunflower oil.

Christmas pudding is quite low in fat and a small portion goes a long way. Try serving it with low-fat custard or Greek yoghurt. Fresh berries with natural yoghurt is also a good option.

For more savvy festive swaps, check out this great NHS article.

Healthy Christmas.

Do you know of any recipes on how to make these healthier alternatives?

I do indeed! Check out these great links to healthy festive recipes!

BBC Food Healthy Christmas Recipes article

BBC Low Fat Christmas article

Any advice on how to avoid the temptation to eat all the Christmas goodies on offer?

One way of not letting the eating get out of control is to stick to normal meal times. Start with a healthy breakfast, preferably one that is going to keep you full for a while, such as porridge oats or a smoked salmon bagel. That way you won’t be tempted to dip into the snacks as much. Just remember that Christmas really is just a day, so treat yourself wisely then get back into normal eating as soon as the festive season is over.

If you do overindulge over the festive season, how would you advise working it off?

Join a gym or class, take up a new activity, walk or cycle to work. Do something with a friend to motivate each other. Sport Solent have lots of services on offer so check out their website to find out more!

Article image courtesy of: Eyedea

Banner image courtesy of: Savingdinner