Christmas is arriving in less than a month and we are all excited about the delicious food and drink that the buffet table offers. To keep from ruining the fun of enjoying festive food, I have some suggestions for you to keep track of your food intake without too much sacrifice. All and all, if you follow these tips, you can save on hundreds of calories in just one meal!
1. Trim off as much fat as possible from the Christmas ham before cooking and try to barbeque or grill it instead. Roasting meat allows the meat to soak back all the fat that would have otherwise dripped off in the process. By grilling or barbequing, you can easily save you and your guests some calories to enjoy the rest of the food on the buffet table.
2. Provide a variety of fresh vegetable salads and steamed vegetable side dishes with fresh herbs and lemon juice instead of baked vegetables coated in fat to balance out the rest of the heavy dishes on the table.
3. Cook oven-roasted pumpkin, carrots, or sweet potatoes instead of sautéed potatoes, dauphinoise, or mashed potatoes. You can save approximately 200 calories on the milk, creamed, butter and whole egg in these recipes.
4. For nibbles or simple starters, make something that is raw and steamed instead of puffs and deep-fried food. Healthier options are fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, rye crackers topped with salmon roe, light sour cream and dill, or some Spanish seafood ceviche served in a spoon. These dishes will also save you time on preparation.
5. Don’t be disappointed with dessert –- you can still impress your guests by making a healthy one. Save loads of calories, time, and mess by making your pies and tarts without the crust. Or make a dark chocolate fondue with fresh strawberries or serve your guests sorbet topped with fresh berries and chopped nuts.
Here are some other survival tips to help you keep track of what you've been eating:
- Implement the “one-plate policy” and don’t attempt to build a little mountain on the plate -- overeating will not necessarily make your Christmas happier.
- Stick with wine and stay away from sugary cocktails. Make sure that you alternate your wine with a good-sized glass of sparkling or still water.
- Do not starve yourself before your Christmas meal. Have a small snack before your visit to a friend’s home or when you are preparing food to avoid overeating at the table.
- Keep up with your exercise routine. There is no reason to stop exercising because of the holiday. You’ll get rid of those excess calories and be less stressed out by maintaining your regular workout pattern.
- We should all enjoy ourselves during holiday seasons and eating and drinking in moderation will help prevent your waistline and hips from expanding.
Janet Ho is a guest writer for LifestyleAsia and head personal trainer at Fitness Compass Hong Kong. For more information, check out www.fitnesscompass.com.hk where LifestyleAsia members can receive their first 90-minute PT session free of charge.