How to avoid a Santa belly this Christmas

T’is the season to be jolly, but that shouldn’t mean you emerge in January with a belly that would make Saint Nick himself look trim! Here are some sure-fire ways of surviving the holidays without overindulging:

Fight the savoury/sweet cycle

We’ve all been there – you’ve just filled yourself to the brim with cheese, crackers and crisps. You couldn’t possibly eat any more, and then somehow you find room for some chocolate log, ice cream, and a few treats from the quality street tin! Dieticians at USANA Health Sciences believe this is because our brains are hard-wired to crave variety. Our ancestors would need to look for variety in their food to get a balanced diet. This is why you can feel full-up on savoury snacks, but then immediately crave sweet foods, and magically find room for them.

It’s not practical to expect these cravings to disappear, but you can control what foods you use to fulfil them. When you’ve got the itch for a savoury treat, try to opt for salted popcorn, vegetable crisps and olives. Then, when your sweet tooth kicks in, grab your favourite fruit, greek yoghurt, or rich dark chocolate – it gives you a cocoa fix with fewer calories than its milky counterpart.

Find your Christmas spirit

What do a pint of lager, a glass of red wine and a bottle of cider all have in common? Aside from the obvious, they’re all very high in calories! The beer and cider each contain around 200 calories, while a glass of wine can have as many as 125 calories. In isolation, one drink isn’t so bad, but those calories can really pile up over the festive period. To prevent this, try to stick to spirits like gin, vodka, rum and whisky, which tend to only have around 60 calories per serving. You can even mix them with slimline tonics, diet coke or lemonade for only a few additional calories.

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The main event

Ah yes, the Christmas dinner – it’s a staple for millions of us on the 25th of December, but it can often come in at over 1000 calories! You can trim this number down by being strict with your portion of turkey, and avoiding the crispy skin. Switching out mashed and roast potatoes for boiled will eliminate oil & butter from your meal, whilst piling your dish high with vegetables will fill you up without too much calorie outlay. Additionally, try to skip the fattening bread sauce, and drink plenty of water beforehand – it will stop you from mistaking thirst for hunger, and increase feelings of ‘fullness’.

The all-you-can-eat buffet

The trickiest part of controlling your seasonal eating comes when someone is putting on a spread – it’s out of your hands! However, there are a few tips you should bear in mind. Before you set off, aim to have a large, healthy meal, which will prevent you from getting too carried away at the buffet. Additionally, opt for the salad, brown bread and fish, and do your best to avoid sausage rolls, quiche and garlic bread. Just think of all the January gym time you’ll be saving yourself!

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