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Posted on 17 Dec 2016 Views 2846 Comments 4

Eating over the festive season

Eating over the Festive Season

The Christmas season is well and truly here and with the big day and family festivities fast approaching, it’s hard to get away from all those tempting festive treats. If you’re currently following a Slim & Save programme, it may seem tricky to know how to manage the Christmas season – whether to stay on the plan, or to have a short break. We have therefore written this article to give you information on these two options.

Christmas in ketosis

Eating Sensibly Over ChristmasHats off to you if you’re planning staying in ketosis over Christmas! The good news is that on the Lifestyle plan, there are plenty of options you can choose from, so you don’t feel left out. The menu planner database was updated last Christmas to include some festive items for you to choose, whilst still staying in ketosis. The key to staying in ketosis is to keep your daily carbohydrate below a certain level, whilst also having a low calorie intake. You do this by sticking to the appropriate portion sizes and types of food (e.g. a small portion of boiled potatoes is ok on Christmas day, but they should not be roasted or mashed). Our example menu also shows you what you could include on Christmas day - it even allows you to have a few special treats, such as a Ferrero Rocher and cheese and crackers! To view last Christmas’s post for ideas, please visit here. As always, the key is in forward planning - why not use the meal planner to plan your Christmas day’s menu ahead of time – that way you won’t get caught out.

There are also a range of festive foods and drinks available through Slim & Save that you may wish to order, such as Slim & Save’s mulled wine flavour drink mix and gingerbread shakes, Beanies flavoured coffees (amaretto, Irish cream and creamy caramel flavours feel particularly ‘Christmassy’), Walden Farms marshmallow and caramel dip, cinnamon-raisin spread and syrup selections.

Taking a short break over Christmas

If you’re planning on taking a break from the plan over the Christmas period, here are our 8 top tips:

  1. Limit the time you come off plan – try to plan the time you wish to take off for in advance, so that you stick to it. You may wish to just come off plan for Christmas day itself, or for a few days which may suit you better if you are having several get-togethers of staying away from home. By deciding in advance how long to come off your plan, you’re more likely to get back on track afterwards
  2. If you come off plan you will gain weight Eating Over Christmas– it’s natural to gain a few pounds immediately after coming off plan, due to the fact that your body will start storing glycogen (the body’s preferred fuel). Try not to fixate too much on this – once you get back on plan, your glycogen stores will deplete and you will lose this weight again. However, it’s important to note that if you don’t eat sensibly you could put on a lot more than you anticipated, and this could be a setback. The average person puts on at least 2 pounds over Christmas and never loses this afterwards.
  3. Eat sensibly – It’s well known that people often eat in excess of 6000kcal on Christmas day alone (over 3 times the average female daily requirements, and over 7 times the calories you consume on a typical day on Slim & Save!) It’s important not to use the festive season as an excuse to go wild. You still need to eat sensibly and watch your intake of foods – particularly of those high in sugar and fat. With one mince pie containing a whopping 4 teaspoons of sugar, and 3 mini pigs in blankets containing the equivalent calories of 2 slices of bread, it’s so easy to rack up the calorie intake and gain significant amounts of weight. We’ve put together a list of ideas for you to try below – for both the Christmas dinner itself, and some healthier alternatives for those favourite festive treats.
  4. Fill up on vegetables – filling at least half your plate with vegetables will reduce your overall calorie intake, and help you feel fuller for longer. You could use the festive period as a time to experiment with different vegetables and recipes, e.g. spiced red cabbage, roasted butternut squash or spinach creamed with reduced fat crème fraiche.
  5. Use a smaller plate – whilst it’s tempting to grab a big plate, choosing and filling a smaller plate or side plate will still leave you feeling like you’ve eaten plenty – it’s all in the mind! The same goes for cakes and desserts; try choosing a child-sized bowl or saucer.
  6. Drinks count too – did you know that an average glass of mulled wine has at least four teaspoons of added sugar? Drinks like non-diet fizzy drinks, cordials and fruit juices are all high in sugar too. It’s best to choose diet fizzy drinks and no added sugar squashes, and avoid fruit juice. You can also try our mulled wine water flavouring – low in calories and alcohol free. Don’t forget to consider any alcohol too – we’ve covered the calorie content of alcohol in another article about weight maintenance, but thought it helpful to add a little reminder for you with a Christmas twist (all values are approximate):
Alcoholic drink Number of calories (kcal) Equivalent food
Spirit (one measure) 70 kcal Digestive biscuit
Small glass (50ml) port or sherry 70-80 kcal 2 rich tea biscuits
Glass of champagne / prosecco 85 kcal Chocolate digestive biscuit
Small glass of wine 125 kcal Packet of crisps
Double Baileys 175 kcal 7 ½ squares of milk chocolate
Glass of homemade mulled wine 180 kcal 9 jelly babies
Large glass of wine 195 kcal Slice of sponge cake
Pint of beer 197 kcal Large slice of pizza
Pint of cider 210 kcal Sugar doughnut
  1. Watch the festive nibbles – all those ‘little’ extras soon add up; the mince pies, Celebrations, stolen, Christmas cake, nuts... Try to stick to regular mealtimes, and limit your snacks to certain key days only.
  2. Don’t forget to exercise – make time for including exercise in your diet. Why not go for a family walk on those festive days? Did you know that to burn the calories from one mince pie, you would have to run for 1.6 miles; and you’d have to run for 3.6 miles for a serving of Christmas pudding? (these figures are estimates and would vary based on the individual).

Healthier Christmas food and drink ideas

  Instead of… Try…
Starter Cheese or Pate Fresh melon, vegetable soup or smoked salmon
Christmas main course Roast potatoes cooked in goose fat Roast potatoes brushed with olive oil
Roast turkey with skin Remove the skin (it’s high in fat)
Pigs in blankets Choose reduced fat sausages, grill them, and choose lean bacon medallions, or back bacon with the fat trimmed off
Traditional stuffing Chestnut and/or fruit based stuffing
Cranberry sauce Bread sauce made with skimmed milk
Desserts Christmas pudding with brandy butter or double cream Christmas pudding with no added sugar custard or reduced fat crème fraiche
Yule log Fresh fruit salad with natural yoghurt
Trifle Homemade trifle using sugar free jelly with fresh fruit, and layer with no added sugar custard and whip (made with skimmed milk)
Snacks / nibbles Traditional mince pies Homemade mince tarts made with filo pastry (filo has much less fat than traditional shortcrust pastry)
Salted peanuts or salted cashews Roast chestnuts (much lower in fat)
Sweets and chocolates Dried fruit, plain popcorn, plain pretzels or raw vegetable sticks with low fat dips
Comments on Eating over the festive season
Janet Richmond 21/12/2016 09:35
I never even realised the amount of calories is in just one glass of wine! This really puts thing's into perspective. Thanks.
Gail Johnson 20/12/2016 21:14
Very informative and useful article! Hoping to stay on plan if possible and will follow the Christmas in ketosis guide thank you
Sally Wentworth 18/12/2016 21:13
Some great tips there that I will certainly be taking on board, great post very helpful thank you x
Jill Gains 18/12/2016 20:29
That's food for thought ;)

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