Christmas is a well-known holiday for binge eating. It’s hard to stick to your diet when friends and family are gorging themselves around you. However, with some simple rules as outlined in our article below, you can minimize the negative effect of calories at Christmas. You’ll find that it isn’t necessary to say no to all of your favourite Christmas treats.
According to recent studies, women are the more susceptible gender when it comes to gaining weight over the Christmas holidays. An average woman gains approximately 2.3 kg over the holiday season. Although this is not a significant gain in absolute terms, it is enough to make you feel uncomfortable in your tighter fitting clothes, and maybe even enough to warrant searching for larger sizes. It is also quite disturbing that this happens over the relatively short time frame from Christmas through to New Years.
One of the ways in which you start packing on the pounds at Christmas is through buffets. It is almost inevitable that you end up eating more than necessary, and even more than is enjoyable, if you do not have well-defined portions. This is why it is well-advised to drink two or three glasses of water before heading for the buffet. In addition, you can try eating a salad or your choice of low-calorie dish prior to the party. The worst thing you can do is arrive hungry.
Calories Christmas Dinner
This is the one meal of the year where overeating is actively encouraged by society. Keep in mind that your Christmas dinner is a one off occasion, and as such you can allow yourself to eat more high-calorie foods than you are used to. The problem is that Christmas dinner tends to drag on for days! For one thing you’ll find yourself picking at the ingredients the morning of preparation. Then after the festivities are over you’ll be eating the leftovers for quite some time, and this is where the damage is done. Some studies have shown that the average person eats up to four times as much over the holiday season.
So how many calories are there in your average Christmas dinner? Obviously this will vary depending on exact ingredients and portions, but as a rough guide: a serving of roast turkey and stuffing will give you about 400 calories (kcal) on their own, with about 20g of fat. Roast potatoes with a side of gravy and cranberry sauce will provide an additional 200 kcal with 5g of fat. And for those of you who really like to indulge at this time of year, a helping of bread sauce, sausage and bacon will boost your intake by 250 kcal with 20g of fat. If you sum all of the above, and factor in the wine and desert, you’ll see why Santa needs all of seven reindeer to guide his sleigh.
Christmas Cake Calories
Christmas cake is a very popular exception that people will allow themselves, as a reward for their otherwise strict diet during the rest of the year. It’s also one of those foods that people would rather not know about in terms of energy contents – but here it is anyway. Your average Christmas cake (60g) contains 220 calories (kcal) and over 5g of fat. The carb content is very high at 40g – that’s about two thirds of the total mass! And for those of you that thought they would at least be getting a dose of fibre – think again – there is barely over 1g of fibre in this serving size. But once again, don’t let that stop you if you really only have it once a year.
Christmas Cookies Calories
Now this one is a real silent killer. The reason being first of all that they come in deceptively small portions, which can result in you consuming a hefty amount without even realising it. Secondly Christmas cookies are dangerous because they are not confined to the few days between Christmas and New Years, as you’ll find them being sold as early as November. Christmas cookies come in a variety of shapes, sizes and calorific content. The lowest calorie cookie is shortbread at 53 kcal per average serving, and the highest calorie cookie is the M&M cookie at approximately 200 kcal. So if you plan on snacking on these, make sure you read the package first.
Christmas Food Calories
It’s hard to find a Christmas food that isn’t high in calories. The best advice if you’re going to a party and are conscious about your calorie intake, yet don’t want to appear obsessive to your friends, is to fill your plate with a variety of low fat side dishes. Go for the celery and the fruit instead of the potatoes and the stuffing. Another obvious tip is one that you should follow all year round: avoid sauces. It’s very easy to consume just as many calories through sauces as you do through the food itself. Tis the season to mix carbs – a well known recipe for weight gain. So if you do eat the potatoes, go easy on the bread and vice versa.
Calories Christmas Pudding
A celebrated desert, the Christmas pudding will be unavoidable at the table during the holiday season. Contrary to popular belief, traditional Christmas pudding isn’t that high in calories, averaging at under 300 kcal per 100g. to put this in perspective, this is less than most big brand breakfast cereals. The fat content isn’t that high either, at 4%. Carbohydrates account for just over 20% of Christmas pudding and the fibre is low at around 1%. So it turns out this is one Christmas food that you don’t have to feel that guilty about.
The main thing to remember during the Christmas holiday season, as throughout the year, is to approach your food intake with moderation and keep your calories down wherever possible. Keep track of what you’ve consumed and try to satisfy your hunger with lower calorie foods and several glasses of water prior to meals. And if you should stray too far from your goals, you’ve got several months to make good before swimsuit season starts!