Try Something New This Christmas

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Christmas is a time when we can give ourselves permission to relax, celebrate and have those special Christmas meals and treats that we all love. As none of us want to feel deprived, the festive season is probably not the ideal time to worry about going on a diet. Instead, why not introduce some new habits to your holiday routine to help you to maintain your weight and make those New Year resolutions a little easier!

Top up before you head out
Have a nutritious snack before you go to a party or function so that you don’t arrive ravenous, making a beeline for the buffet table. Reduced fat cheese and crackers, tinned tuna with a slice of wholegrain bread or even a bowl of cereal are all nutritious top up options.

Make 'smart swaps'
If you are the host, actively swap some less nutritious foods for with more nutritious options. For example, serve tomato salsa instead of French onion dip, vegetable crudités and unsalted pretzels instead of chips; barbeque prawns or fresh made mini-Vietnamese rolls instead of tradition spring rolls, or even a seafood platter with whole barbecued fish instead of turkey with all the trimmings. If you are not the host but want to ensure that there are some lighter options available, why not offer to bring a plate of yoghurt dip with vegetable crudités.

Listen to your stomach
Do have seconds if you’re still hungry but stop when you are no longer hungry rather full. Taking your time to enjoy every bite will help make it easier to listen to your stomach and reduce you from feeling overly full. And we all know it’s very easy to nibble on food just because it’s there. To avoid nibbling, prepare yourself a plate of food and then make a conscious effort to stand away from the food and drinks table.

Treats can be both light and delicious
Be creative with sweets and desserts. For example, if you find it difficult to say no to the chocolate truffles after dinner try some chocolate dipped strawberries and cherries as a lighter but still delicious treat. Fruit platters, with yoghurt or low-fat ice-cream are also great alternatives to puddings, cakes and other rich desserts. Enjoy one or two small treats so you don't feel deprived, but as with the mains, don't go back for three or four more servings.

Drinks are a classic calorie trap!
This season, why not make it a point to make the first thirst-quenching drink a glass of water or if you’re in the need for something a little more flavoursome try diet soft drink instead of a high calorie alcoholic or soft drink. One standard alcoholic drink is 100ml wine. Drinking out of a small wine glass is a good way to moderate your intake as it is very easy to underestimate the amount of alcohol if you drink out of the larger, modern-style wine glasses. It is also a good strategy to avoid top ups until you have finished a single glass of wine. That way you can keep on top of your intake. Alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a sparkling water will also help limit your intake while keeping you hydrated over the festive season.

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