Tis the Season to be Jolly … and Eat in Moderation

December 5, 2013

Santa Claus slippers on weight scalesAre 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.

Smarter choices

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.

 

Nibble

Calories kcal

Fat g

Healthier alternative

Calories kcal

Fat g

Mini pastry tartlet

45

3.2

Mini Filo Tartlet

30

1.5

Breaded chicken bite

40

167

Marinated Chicken bite

29

0.8

Mini bhaji

64

2.8

Mini satay stick

34

1.6

Bucks Fizz

103

0

White wine spritzer

66

0

Mince pie

236

6.8

Mini mince pie

82

2.5

Handful of peanuts

117

10

Handful of pretzels

46

0.3

Handful of crisps

54

3.7

Handful of twiglets

38

1.2

Sour cream dip

110

11.3

Salsa dip

20

0.1

 

 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.

And finally

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:

www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/seasons

placeholder Image
Ayela Spiro

Nutrition Science Manager, British Nutrition Foundation

Share: 

February 19, 2024
QCS 12 audit series: Understand why each audit is important and learn how to share your audit actions with the team – Resource 12: Health and Safety
Read more
February 5, 2024
QCS 12 audit series: Understand why each audit is important and learn how to share your audit actions with the team – Resource 11: Observation
Read more
January 22, 2024
QCS 12 audit series: Understand why each audit is important and learn how to share your audit actions with the team – Resource 10: Medication
Read more