Cut the Christmas kilos

Presuming you’re a human being, you will be expecting to pile on the pounds at Christmas and suffer for it in January, for this is the way of things, is it not? Well, not necessarily. Try these health-giving tips…

Buffet bonanza: Buffets are your enemy, so eat before a party, and if you must raid the buffet avoid pastry-based nibbles and dips and go for cold meat or fish, veg sticks and smoked salmon blinis.

The big breakfast: A healthy and hearty Christmas Day brekkie of overnight oats with berries and chopped apple will fill you up and stop you hitting the selection box before lunch.

Start healthy: For a healthy starter on Christmas Day, the Japanese rolls on p33 are ideal because they are packed with vegetables. Alternatively, make a crudité wreath arranged around a dip of low fat yoghurt mixed with lemon juice, dill tips and cucumber. It’s filling, and it looks gorgeous! 

Veggie heaven: Fill your plate with vegetables (un-buttered!) before your meat/nut loaf and roasties, leaving yourself less room for the bad stuff.

Ditch the skin: Turkey skin is loaded with fat, whereas the meat is among the leanest you’ll find. Eat skinless breast meat rather than the dark meat. And when you cook the bird, brush it with a light covering of oil rather than coating it with butter.

Stuff yourself: Make your own stuffing using chestnuts rather than fatty sausage meat.

Spud you like: Par boil your potatoes, then brush them with oil rather than drizzling it over. And keep them large to reduce the amount of oil absorbed.

Everything in moderation: If you love Christmas pud, have some, just don’t go mad. Remember that brandy butter and cream both contain less fat than custard, even homemade with semi-skimmed milk . Or go for meringues with fruit and Greek yoghurt whipped with orange zest and juice.

Choc heaven: To make your own healthier truffles: Put 200g 70% cocoa chocolate chips in a bowl with 75ml coconut milk, ½ tsp vanilla extract and ½ tsp ground cinnamon and melt over a bowl of simmering water (do not allow the bowl to touch the water). Chill for 3 hours. Scoop mix out with a spoon and roll into balls. Roll in crushed roasted hazelnuts, green tea powder, cocoa and chili powder, dried strawberry flakes, edible gold leaf and anything else you fancy…

The morning after: Start Boxing Day with a brisk walk and a smoothie, avoiding the smoothie-rookie’s mistake of loading it with sugary fruit juice and fatty dairy milk. Instead, use Greek yoghurt or light coconut milk, and to ensure you stay full for longer, add avocado or oats. A little root ginger will help to soothe your digestion, as will cinnamon. Try them with a smoothie of oat milk, aloe vera juice, spinach leaves, frozen berries and some flax seeds.

Boxing fit: For Boxing Day lunch, feast on a lunch of green salad, red cabbage slaw (see p9) and lean cold meats, fish or tofu followed by a fruit and Greek yoghurt platter. Later on, enjoy a hearty dinner of homemade vegetable soup laced with ginger for your digestion.

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