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Health Matters

A healthy approach to Christmas season

Inês Machado (Nutritionist) . 10/12/2015

Christmas and New Year season, celebrated between family and friends, surrounded by delicious dishes and desserts may compromise all your hard-earned weight loss results.

During this season, the average weight gain is 2kg. This tendency may be counteracted by a conscious food choice and some strategies:

  • Make sure you don’t skip any meals during the day, never exceeding a 3h to 4h break between meals. Otherwise, you may end up eating inappropriately and excessively;

  • Include high-fibre foods in your diet (for instance, fruit, vegetables, whole grains), since these will extend satiety and are low in calories.

  • Choose a smaller plate to assure an appropriate food portion.

  • Start your meals with a vegetable soup or a salad, in order to avoid excesses in following dishes. This way it will be easier to assure a reduced caloric intake.

  • Take your time to eat and enjoy every piece so that you will feel satisfied with the least amount of food and without feeling the need to refill your plate. Put down your fork. Enjoy the company of family and friends, divert your attention from food and enjoy catching up.

  • Be moderate on your consumption of alcoholic drinks, since they represent a high caloric intake. As incredible as it may seem, alcohol has more calories per gram than carbohydrates.

  • Choose water over soft drinks or fruit juices.

  • When it’s time for dessert, avoid anything that’s fried (high fat) and choose sweets that can be eaten with a spoon. Choose the ones you like the most, eat a small portion and do not refill. Remember to cut down on sugar when baking and to use natural flavourings (vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon peel) in order to assure a more balanced dessert.

  • Start a new Christmas tradition: a walk with all the family. Whether it’s a walk to Christmas Eve Mass or just around the corner, it will certainly contribute to a positive energy balance.

  • Avoid extending the festive menu to the following days. Distribute leftovers to your guests.

Finally, resume your food routine and physical exercise as soon as possible and, if necessary, contact a nutritionist.

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