THE BLOG
15/12/2013 14:40 GMT | Updated 14/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Christmas Food Swaps

With Christmas approaching, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime... STOP RIGHT THERE!

Everyone thinks that Christmas food and drink, socialising, parties and festive days out means snacking, junk food and generally piling on those dreaded pounds.

Well, yes, Christmas is a time for enjoying yourself and relaxing but that doesn't mean that you have to gain weight. Here are some 'cheat' ideas to help you avoid piling on the pounds WITHOUT feeling that you're missing out!

It can be done and here's how...

1) Drink Water Regularly

Drink a bottle of water before you have your first meal of the day and before you go to sleep. This will help you to feel fuller and will prevent you snacking before you've had a chance to prepare a healthy meal. It will also hydrate your body, which in the winter air, can only be a good thing.

It is also a good idea to alternate your alcoholic beverage with a water on a night out, again keeping you hydrated, but should also give you slightly less of a hangover the next day. Bonus!

2) Swap Festive Alcoholic Drinks For 'Healthy' Champagne Based Cocktails

Avoid cocktails, mulled wine, warm apple cider and other alcoholic festive drinks. They may be delicious but they're packed with calories. If you want to have an alcoholic drink, stick to vodka with a low calorie mixer or champagne. They'll still taste delicious but will have a lot less calories.

If you still want to have a cocktail, I would recommend a peach Bellini or a strawberry Rossini. These are champagne based with a natural fruit puree so are a 'healthier' alternative. (Top tip: check with the bartender about which puree he's using, as many places will just use a sugar puree and cheap liqueur.

Like I just mentioned, it's a good idea to alternate your alcoholic drinks with water. So if you know it's going to be a late one, make every other drink a water. You will want to thank me the next day.

3) Swap Christmas Desserts For Hot Fruit And Custard

Avoid the Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding. You might think it's just a small one but, in reality, you're probable having lots of 'small one's' and this adds up. Sometimes you can consume more than your daily intake with out even realising it.

For a tasty alternative, I recommend warm mixed berries with hot custard. Peaches are great with this too! Nobody will notice that you're not indulging and neither will you. It will also count towards your '5 a day'. Perfect!

4) Swap Bread Rolls For Hot Chocolate Milk

Bread rolls might be warm and comforting at the time, smothered in butter but once you start snacking on these whilst waiting for your meal, you won't be able to stop. Of course it varies, but at approx. 200 calories for a small while bread roll, is it really worth it? One leads to two, and that leads to three, and that's 600 calories already even before we have dinner. Sound familiar? The best thing to do is resist the bread completely and wait for your main meal. This will ensure that you eat your whole meal which won't be a waste of money.

5) Feeling Peckish?

Instead of snacking or having a calorie filled hot chocolate, try having a hot cup of chocolate milk. If you use two tsps of Nesquik's hot chocolate powder and mix with 200ml of semi-skimmed milk, not only will it taste great but it will line your stomach and stop you from snacking. Plus, it's low calorie and full of lots of nutrients. You'll feel indulgent but your body will be singing hallelujah!

6) Swap Chocolates For Nuts

Forget about the tins of chocolates... Quality Street, Roses, Celebrations and Miniature Heroes. Leave them for the children. You'd be amazed how many calories you can rack up by snacking on a few chocolates. Each mini chocolate had over 60 calories so eating 10 means you've eaten 600 calories. So really think before you dive your hand into that tin of rainbow coloured calories.

Instead, snack on mixed whole nuts. Spending time cracking them will mean you will consume less. Plus, as they're natural and unsalted, they will provide lots of vitamins and minerals which will protect your hair, skin, teeth and nails from the harsh winter weather.

If you follow these top tips, you can forget about a New Year's resolution to get healthier or loose weight, you'll already be right on track. Plus, what better time to show off your new figure than on New Years Eve?! Everybody else will be worrying about fitting into their outfit but you'll be there looking gorgeous, glamorous and glowing... and maybe just a little bit smug about your enviable figure. It's the perfect start to the year!