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How to Eat Well at Christmas

Christmas is a time to relax and let go of the usual rules we impose on ourselves. However, the ubiquitous availability of food and drinks throughout December makes it easy...

Christmas is a time to relax and let go of the usual rules we impose on ourselves. However, the ubiquitous availability of food and drinks throughout December makes it easy to eat more than usual and to indulge in foods we don’t normally allow ourselves. This may be enjoyable at the time but may become a source of regret if our health is sabotaged in the process. Here are some tips for enjoying Christmas without piling on the pounds or ending up feeling bloated and stodgy.

Avoid Snacking
Having the occasional large celebratory meal is not a problem and is something to be enjoyed. The problem is all the opportunities for snacking between meals with mince pies, shortbread biscuits and chocolates lurking round every corner. These foods are often low in nutrients and high in calories. If you do need a snack to keep you going try Tom Oliver’s peanut butter with some celery or apple. It’s delicious and healthy and will fill that gap.
Also, see the recipe for Choco-Nut Apricot Bites below for a delicious healthy treat you can offer your guests this Christmas.

Ask for Adaptations
If you need meals adapted when eating out do ask in advance rather than on the day when the staff are busy. For example, they may be able to replace chips with a jacket potato or salad, or battered fish for baked fish.

Go for Healthier Options
When eating at home fill up on salads, vegetables and healthy proteins. Tom Oliver’s protein powders can be used to make a smoothie for breakfast or lunch, especially if you know you’re going to have a big meal later in the day. The protein powders are available as vegan or whey protein in a range of delicious flavours.

When eating out avoid the deep fried or battered options and ask for plenty of vegetables and salads on the side.

Christmas Dinner can be Healthy
A traditional Christmas dinner is packed with vegetables and usually turkey or some other meat or vegetarian alternative. This can be a healthy meal full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and beneficial fats. Load up on veggies and limit the bread sauce, Yorkshire puddings and potatoes.

Drink Mindfully
It’s easy to drink more than usual in December. Be aware of the strength of the alcohol you are drinking and how many units are in a bottle. A standard measure of spirits is 25ml, less than 2 tablespoons – probably less than you might naturally pour yourself at home. The units (and calories) can soon add up. Soft drinks are not always a healthy choice so check the labels and be sure to hydrate with water as much as possible.

Get Out for a Walk
Sharing food with friends and family is an opportunity for conviviality and fun. However, there are other things you can do together. Go for a winter walk or play games inside if the weather is inclement.

Choco-Nut Apricot Bites
1 cup of dried apricots
1 cup of almonds
½ cup of oatflakes
4tbsp Tom Oliver’s peanut butter
2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 tbsp Tom Oliver protein powder (whey or vegan)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maca powder (optional)

  • Put the apricots and almonds in a food processor with the S blade and blend until well combined.
  • Add the oatflakes, peanut butter, coconut oil, protein powder, cocoa powder and maca powder and blend again until you have an homogenised mass.
  • Line a shallow tin with baking parchment, cutting the parchment so that it is twice the size of the tin. Press the mixture into it. Use the extra parchment to press it right into the corners.
  • Cover with the parchment and put in the fridge for a few hours or the freezer for half an hour before cutting into squares.
  • Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for months.
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