Stay healthy this season

Alva Carpenter

Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012

Last update 19 December 2012 4:49 am

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I am passionate about the benefits of healthy eating, and exercise but there is a time and place for everything.
I think it is healthy to take a break and allow ourselves to believe for a short while that the usual rules of healthy eating do not apply. You can always find lots of low fat recipes for Christmas fare in magazines but it all looks so unappetizing and tasteless, and Christmas, Eid, Diwali and other festivals are a time to enjoy and indulge a little.
We all have a love affair with traditional festive food. For those celebrating festivals such as Eid or Christmas, traditional dishes and smells bring back the magic of our childhood. Christmas cake, mince pies, sitting around the television watching old Disney movies and eating chocolates with family and friends and of course we deserve to enjoy it. Have a little taste of everything in moderation.

So how much weight
will I gain?
The average person gains about 2 kilos during the festive period, although in the Gulf this may be less, as the festivities are usually shorter than in other countries. However, on Christmas Day alone, most of us consume about 4,000 calories. The usual calorie intake for a woman is 2,000 calories and for a man 2500. So, the answer is to plan ahead start now and be virtuous and cut down in preparation for the festivities.

Where Do All The Festive Calories Come From?
Roast turkey (2 slices) = 175 calories/8g fat
3 medium roast potatoes = 380 calories/11.5g fat
Slice of Christmas cake = 250 calories/8g fat
Christmas pudding = 290 calories/10g fat
1 mince pie = 233 calories/11g fat

Start Exercising
Try to exercise every day and eat healthy so that when the celebration finally arrives, you can join in without feeling guilty; and having done so, you will also feel fresh and ready to get back into a healthy eating routine in the New Year. For advice on daily exercise send an e-mail to [email protected].

A Few Things
to Go Easy On
Salted peanuts are so more-ish. A small handful (25g) contains 12g fat, I feel it is better not to start on them as it is so hard to stop!
Stilton cheese is irresistible but a piece the size of a matchbox (35g) contains 12g fat. So just have a small piece and take time to really enjoy it.

Party Season
At this time of year there is a great temptation to burn the candle at both ends, but try to make sure you get enough sleep. Those precious hours of sleep help rejuvenate your body both internally and externally. Without sufficient sleep, your heart rate, metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories) and other bodily functions slow down. Lack of sleep can also affect your mental state, making you short tempered and forgetful. If you love chocolate, try to get the best quality you can and enjoy eating it slowly, so your taste buds have a real treat. And if you are going to a party where you know there will be snacks, cut down on food during the day by eating a healthy breakfast and a salad for lunch and then treat yourself at the party to one or two of whatever looks delicious. Once the party season is over get back on track and Email me at [email protected] to receive my bi-monthly e-newsletter; the New Year issue will be full of motivational tips.

Ask Alva
My children are very lazy and will not peel and eat fruit; they tell me that they are happy simply drinking fruit juice.
— Sampat

This is not ok and it is important to eat fruit. The switch from whole fruit to fruit juice can only be made at the expense of full nourishment and health. The skins of whole fruits like grapes have actually been studied for their ability to help lower risk of cancer. In addition to the skin, the pulpy part of the fruit is also a source of fiber (and other nutrients). You can usually get children to eat fruit salad but a clever and healthy idea is to serve fruit kebabs. Use fruits in season, such as melons, berries, oranges, pineapples or grapes. Children and adults who don't eat enough fruits will often reach for a fruit kebab simply because they look so delicious.
— Alva

[email protected]

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