No one wants to feel deprived at Christmas or like they’re being a gourmet grinch. But, as we enter the silly season of overindulgence, for many it can become a battle against an all-out belly blowout.
By making a few simple swaps, however, you can maintain your waistline without forgoing the festivities. Here are the experts’ top 10 healthy Christmas swaps.
Swap overindulging on five days for one
“At Christmas time a lot of people say ‘I just want to eat whatever I want’,” says Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin. “That’s fine, but choose one day, not five days, to go for it.” She also says keeping active over the holiday period can keep indulgences in check. “Don’t stop exercising. Who wants to come back from holidays and have to hit gym harder than before. A little bit of consistency goes a long way.”
Swap a plate for a taste
QUICKSLIM Australia Nutritionist, Chris Lynton says: “When eating, you experience 90 percent of the taste in the first mouthful, while flavour and taste decreases in every mouthful to follow. With this in mind, if you’ve decided to indulge just a little this Christmas, opt for a small amount and savour it as much as possible. Remember – if you go back for more you won’t enjoy it as much as that initial first bite.”
Swap accepting body blowout defeat for winning the mini battles of the will.
A recent survey of more than 2000 Australians, commissioned by QUICKSLIM Australia, found that despite knowing how to eat well, more than 4 out of 5 say their willpower is to blame for holiday season overindulgences. But, Chris Lynton says that mini goals are a great way to keep motivated and stay on track. “Set yourself some small goals to achieve over the Christmas period and reward yourself as you achieve them (but not with food!). Perhaps for every Christmas party you endure without falter you could reward yourself with a trip to the nail bar, or perhaps a round of golf. This paired with structured weight loss goals will really assist with willpower during the silly season.”
Swap fatty for fresh hors d’ourves
Pate is full of saturated fat but there are delicious healthy alternatives, says Zoe Bingley-Pullin. “I do an Asian salmon dip, which is high in good fats and a roast broccoli dip instead [recipes below]. They’re both really tasty, but much healthier.” She also suggests opting for goat’s cheese on your cheese plate over brie or blue. “Goat’s cheese is generally lower in fat, less processed and lower in sodium. It’s also easier to digest and contains more enzymes.” When it comes to other nibbly bits, Zoe recommends unroasted, unsalted nuts and ditching crisps for toasted pita breads: “I do my own and sprinkle them with lots of paprika and herbs.”
Swap emotional eating for active engagement.
“Emotional eating is something we are all prone to,” says Chris Lynton. “If you catch yourself reaching for the bickies after a trying day with the relatives, make sure you distract yourself with something a little more positive. Hit the pavement to try and work off angst or make plans to catch up with a good friend for coffee. Keeping strong in trying situations is key, everyone hits hurdles, it’s how you handle them that counts.”
Swap high GI (Glycemic Index) for low GI
According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, the glycemic index or GI ranks a carbohydrate according to its effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss. Australia’s leading scientist in the field of Glycemic Index research, Dr Alan Barclay suggests simple Christmas lunch swaps such as roast potato for sweet potato, corn or carrots and swapping white bread crumbs in your stuffing for Burgen low GI bread or traditional oats.
Swap winter for summer style
“Some countries have Christmas in the middle of summer,” Bingley-Pullin remarks. “So, a lighter option is nicer anyway – you don’t need a heavy, winter meal.” She suggests a roast chook, lamb or eye fillet over a heavy meal of roast pork with crackiling. “Barbequed veggies are a lovely and colourful alternative to heavy roast vegetable dishes. A longer platter with asapragus, zuchinni, squash and capsicum looks gorgeous and is appetising. Try it topped with parsely and lemon wedges. Then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.”
Swap a glass of bubbly for a glass of sparkling water
Alternating drinks will lower your intake of calories and can help steer you towards better food choices. In the QUICKSLIM survey, 60 percent admitted that drinking alcohol lowered their ability to “say no” when tempted by poor food choices. “Set yourself a rule to have a glass of water between drinks and cap yourself at a certain number of drinks,” Chris Lynton suggests. “If you are to drink, opt for lower carbohydrate beverages such as vodka with soda and a squeeze of lime and stay away from the beer and wine.”
Swap heavy Christmas pud for lighter fresh sweets
Pavlova with lite whipped cream, low fat yoghurt or 99 percent fat-free fromage frais, sliced strawberries, bananas, grapes and passionfruit, is a great option says Dr Barclay. He also suggests vanilla pannacotta with strawberry salsa, or Chrismas shaped gingernut biscuits. “By making [these] small, simple modifications, you can lower the GI of your festive dinner. By doing this you will be eating the healthiest foods for your body and this will help prevent weight gain in the process,” he said.
Swap saving for sharing
Sharing is caring at Christmas, says Chris Lynton. It can also help keep your waist line intact. “In the instance that you host your own soiree, guests often bring sweet treats as gifts,” he says. “While it’s a lovely gesture, left-over treats are a sure way to put your willpower in jeopardy. Make sure you share food gifts and left-overs with your guests so no naughty nibbles remain in the fridge to tempt you tomorrow.”
Asian Salmon Dip
100 gram tin of salmon in spring water
1 tbsp of salt reduced soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tsp of fresh ginger, grated finely
1 tbsp of fresh mint, chopped finely
1 tbsp of coriander, chopped finely
1 tsp of lime juice
1 tbsp of orange juice
½ tsp of fresh chili, chopped finely (remove seeds too reduce spice)
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
Serve with a selection of vegetables sticks. Try baby corn for something different.
Roasted Garlic, Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Dip Ingredients
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried chilli or paprika
6 pieces of soy and linseed bread or multigrain bread, cut into rounds using a cookie cutter (approx. 30-40 mm) and toasted
2 cups of broccoli, roasted
¼ cup of roasted almonds
250ml canned cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice
Parsley to serve
Cut the bread into 30-40mm rounds and roast in a pre-heated 140 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Increase the oven heat to 160 degrees, and place the broccoli, garlic, olive and chilli, in the oven for approx. 15-20 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
In a food processor add the broccoli, the drained and rinsed cannellini beans, almonds and lemon juice, and blend until smooth.
To serve place approximately 1tsp of the broccoli mixture on the bread rounds and sprinkling with a little parsley. Yummy!
Try our other male fertility recipes.
Source : Sydney Morning Herald
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