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Tis the Season to be Jolly … and Eat in Moderation
Are you planning a festive feast for your staff or service users? The BNF nutrition blogs for December will look at nutrition over the festive season from the party season and hangovers to the Christmas dinner.
Festive weight gain
For many of us the lead up to Christmas though enjoyable can mean that we experience seasonal weight gain, and there is some evidence to show that, on average, people gain around 5lbs (2kg) in the four-week Christmas period.
The good news is that we don’t need to give up all the nibbles. Studies show that the greater the choice of food on offer, the more calories we tend to consume. Sticking to a few healthier alternatives, rather than trying a little of everything, could be a smart weight choice.
Mini pastry tartlet
Mini Filo Tartlet
Breaded chicken bite
Marinated Chicken bite
Mini satay stick
White wine spritzer
Mini mince pie
Handful of peanuts
Handful of pretzels
Handful of crisps
Handful of twiglets
Sour cream dip
If you are going to a party straight from work, have a small snack like a bowl of cereal or a yogurt before you go so you don’t arrive hungry.
The Better Buffet
Another simple but useful tip if you are putting on a buffet is to place healthier options at the start of the table. Researchers at Cornell University have shown that when healthier foods are seen first, people are more likely to select them and less likely to crave high calorie foods that may be further down the buffet line. For example, in their study, 86% selected fruit when it was offered first, but when higher calorie items were offered first this was only 56%. In fact the first three items a person encounters at the buffet comprised two thirds of their total plate regardless whether the items are low or high calorie.
Christmas is a time to enjoy with friends and family, and food forms an important part of this. But If you are concerned about gaining weight over Christmas, there are steps you can take without ruining your fun.
For more information, see the BNF’s nutritional survival guide: