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7 ways to indulge in your Christmas dinner without going overboard

Tis the season for family, gift-opening and that obligatory Christmas dinner of high-fat, high-calorie food. A Christmas celebration without sabotaging your fitness goals is seemingly impossible especially with that turkey, but before you give in to your feral instincts to abandon all reason, there is hope. All it takes to outsmart your Christmas dinner is a little discipline and a lot of strategy.

In an ideal world, everyone would gather around the dining table, feast on an unforgettable Christmas spread, sip warm mulled wine over carols, and then go home looking and feeling like a million dollars. But the reality is that we’re going to feel bloated, hungover and extremely guilty. To help prevent that dreaded post-Christmas dinner walk of shame, we’ve come up with a few useful hacks in which you can have your apple pie, and eat it too.

While these tips require discipline, they’re not impossible to achieve. Besides the obvious portion control, there’re also tips on the better drinks to be had and how to can restrain yourself from the dessert table. After all, you don’t want to be slogging away at the gym for weeks on end to work it all off.

Don’t starve yourself

Thought it was a good idea to go light at — or worse, skip — breakfast and lunch so you can go all out at the Christmas table? The only problem is you’ll end up overeating and giving in to your emotional cravings. Make smarter decisions by having a small protein-packed breakfast and a snack, so you’re not going to be super starved by the time you get to the meal.

Portion control

It’s hard to not want everything on the dinner table, especially at Christmas, so this is where portion control is key to making sure you don’t bust your calories. Before you dig in, take time to really look at your options and decide which foods you can do without, and which you absolutely must have. Take small portions of each first instead of piling your plate.

Reach for the greens first

You’ll likely attack the roasts first, but loading your plate with healthy options before that will keep you satiated faster and longer. You can have some higher-calorie options for seconds, but you’ll find yourself less likely to eat as much of those.

Go red

We don’t mean your outfit. Having a glass of red wine with your Christmas dinner will give your body a boost of resveratrol, a compound that acts like antioxidants to protect the body against cancer and heart diseases. This is infinitely healthier than soft drinks or cocktails.

Watch the booze

The age-old consensus is that you should match a glass of water to every alcoholic beverage you have so you slow down while keeping hydrated. Cocktails are always a calorie-trap — a harmless glass can cost you up to 700 calories. Go for healthier alternatives that’re under 200 calories if you must, or hit up options such as wine or those without added sugars.

Decline the leftovers

Let the Christmas debauchary start and end at the dinner table. Grandma will most likely hound you with the leftovers, but you’ll have to say no to that one. Indulging in Christmas leftovers can add up to 800 unnecessary calories to your meal.

After-meal cuppa

Having a cup of tea before or in place of dessert will save you precious calories that would otherwise be spent on excessive cake or pie. Tea is also packed with antioxidants, and can aid in digestion.

Shatricia Nair
Managing Editor
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.