It’s not crack­ers

With a cou­ple of sub­tle changes, your fes­tive din­ner can still be good for you, so no need for an emer­gency gym visit

EDP Norfolk - - HEALTH & FITNESS - WORDS: Al­isha Davis

An­early empty tin of Qual­ity Street on the cof­fee ta­ble, an al­ways open bot­tle of Prosecco in the fridge door and the smell of warm mince pies in the air; Christ­mas is truly a mag­i­cal time of the year. It is also one of the most glut­tonous and ex­haust­ing times in the cal­en­dar.

There’s al­ways a Christ­mas party to go to, fam­ily to see and then there’s a big New Year cel­e­bra­tion to get through too. De­cem­ber is a month full of temp­ta­tion and makes even the most health con­scious of peo­ple tum­ble off the wagon lead­ing to the dreaded Jan­uary guilt and hur­ry­ing to your near­est gym. But it doesn’t have to be like this; there are ways you can still en­joy the fes­tive sea­son while re­main­ing health con­scious. You may think it’s an im­pos­si­ble dream, but healthy eat­ing can be done with­out re­strict­ing your en­joy­ment of the fes­tive sea­son.

Many peo­ple like to start the day with an in­dul­gent break­fast. If you choose gifted choco­lates or the tra­di­tional fry-up this is your first mis­take. But it is a hur­dle you can over­come by sim­ply swap­ping to a smoked salmon dish, which is rich in omega 3, a mood boost­ing nu­tri­ent that can also help im­prove our body’s abil­ity to man­age stress (very use­ful once the fam­ily game of trivia comes around).

With the main event, tur­key with all the trim­mings is usu­ally ev­ery­one’s go-to, and most would agree that din­ner isn’t the same with­out roast pota­toes. How­ever, these tasty morsels are of­ten heav­ily salted and cooked in goose fat and so are def­i­nitely on the naughty list. Try trad­ing half the white pota­toes with half sweet pota­toes to les­son the calo­rie in­take whilst boost­ing your fi­bre in­take. But if you’re aim­ing to be re­ally good, why not by­pass the carb­fu­elled dish al­to­gether and try roast­ing cauliflowe­r. Still full of flavour with­out any of the guilt.

At this time of the year it’s so im­por­tant to in­clude ev­ery­one, and with the rise in veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and ve­g­an­ism that means you might have to cater for very dif­fer­ent di­etary needs. In­stead of the tra­di­tional tur­key, per­haps try mak­ing a mixed veg­etable and nut roast, with nuts be­ing high in healthy fats. Where there’s tur­key, there’s stuff­ing, but in­stead of the usual gut buster, why not try a mixed mush­room stuff­ing? Still tasty, veg­e­tar­ian friendly and lower in salt and fat.

Once you’ve made it through your Christ­mas lunch, the only bat­tle left is dessert – for some, this is the hard­est hur­dle to over­come. Hang on, you may say, this is Christ­mas and you just can’t skimp on a slice of warm Christ­mas pud­ding.

We aren’t sug­gest­ing you do, but just be mind­ful of how big the por­tion size is and if pos­si­ble bake your own desserts so you’re aware of what goes in them.

But re­mem­ber Christ­mas is a time of cel­e­bra­tion, so don’t feel you have to deprive your­self. We are all hu­man, so there is al­ways time for a lit­tle over-in­dul­gence. With a few tweaks here or there, how­ever, Box­ing Day may not be such a slog af­ter all.

‘Healthy eat­ing can be done with­out re­strict­ing your en­joy­ment of the fes­tive sea­son’

LEFT:Start Christ­mas Day with salmon, av­o­cado and chilli jam on toast

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