Who doesn't love Christmas? Or maybe this should say — who doesn't love all the food we get to enjoy at Christmas time?
The mince pies, chocolates, puddings, seafood and roasts that we enjoy with friends, work colleagues and family to celebrate the end of another year.
Now there is nothing wrong with indulging in food and drink every so often but the issue for many of us at Christmas time is that we overeat for four to six weeks.
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It is this constant feeding that sees many of us gain a couple of kilos over the festive season. So, if you would rather this wasn't you this year here are some of worst offenders when it comes to Christmas calories and better options you can replace these calorie bombs with.
If you hail from the UK or Scotland, a giant tin of shortbread is sure to be on your family's coffee table throughout December. The buttery, sugary biscuits are a rich tasty treat with a warm drink and even better now you can find chocolate varieties in supermarkets.
The downside is that with 5g of fat and more than 100 calories in a single shortbread finger they can easily add hundreds of calories to your daily intake if you are munching on them through the day. A healthier option is a biscotti with just 20-30 calories and 1g of fat per serve or if you must have your shortbread, limit yourself to one biscuit each day.
For some reason dips are automatically assumed as a healthy option, perhaps because they are often brightly coloured like vegetables and also served with fresh foods like olives and vegetable sticks. The reality is that most dips have a cream cheese base that makes them exceptionally high in fat and calories and that is before you consider the crackers or chips you are enjoying your dips with.
Plus let's be honest, who can stop eating a tub of dip once it is open?
Seek out low calorie dips such as tzatziki, salsa or beetroot, always serve dips with vegie sticks rather than crackers and if you are indulging in heavier dips remember that 1-2 tablespoons is a serve and will likely give you 6-10g of fat per serve.
Mini quiches, party pies, sausage rolls and cheese triangles are the worst of the worst when it comes to both the nutrition they offer and the ease in which you can consume hundreds of calories without even realising it. With 150-200 calories per serve and 8-10g of the worst type of fat, skipping the pastry snacks at parties in favour of seafood, chicken or lamb skewers or sushi will do your weight and your health wonders this holiday season.
At Christmas time there seems to be chocolates everywhere — boxes of them at reception, obligatory gifts shared between colleagues, neighbours and random Kris Kringle gifts and that's before you consider the giant blocks specifically marketed at this time of year. Chocolate, as delicious as it is, is an exceptionally high calorie food that is very easy to over consume. Just four to five individual chocolates from your favourite party box, a handful of chocolate covered nuts and just one piece of Giant Toblerone contains almost 200 calories and 8-12g of fat. For this reason avoiding the habit of mindless munching on the Christmas chocolates lying around throughout the day will save you a truck load of calories this Christmas.
It wouldn't be Christmas time without the parties and celebrations to round out another year but it is the alcohol that comes with these catch ups that explains a lot of the gradual weight creep during the next few weeks.
When you consider that a single standard serve of alcohol contains roughly 100 calories, three to four drinks in a sitting means you have eaten a meal worth of calories.
Ciders and cocktails are particularly high in calories while spirits with low calorie mixers, low alcohol beer and wine and sparkling wine are lower in calories overall. Most importantly when you are enjoying a few drinks, go light on your food calories as your body will be so busy burning off the alcohol it means the food calories are more likely to be stored.