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Christmas Food Pyramid Recipes and Tips

By: Leigh Sexton - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Food Pyramid Food Plate Healthy Eating

Christmas is the season above all that we’ve come to associate with excessive eating and having to detox and diet in January to cope with the weight gain we’ve created through our indulgence. But it doesn’t have to be that way and if you approach the festive season through the food pyramid you can find ways to enjoy your favourite foods without the associated guilt, physical discomfort and sense of having to make up for your bad eating habits.

Here are some tips to help you find the balance between Christmas fun and healthy eating.

Decline Seconds And Make Spaces

If you can only do one thing to help your body over the holiday, this is the one to choose. By refusing to have second helpings you are saving your body from the tendency to overeat which then causes fat storage. When you put food on your plate, you can pile it as high as you like, as long as you can see the plate between each different item of food – this approach limits the amount you can get on your plate and stops you ‘leaning’ one food against another to make a tower of calories that is bad for your long term health and will probably give you heartburn in the short term too. The gaps in which you can see the china of the plate remind you that the UK system of the food plate shows you the proportions of your meal that should be cereals, vegetables and fruit, proteins and fats.

Drink Matching

This is a concept that was developed to help people manage their alcohol consumption over big holidays but it proved so simple and effective that it’s been used in a number of ways since. All you have to do is match every drink you have: whether it’s tea, alcohol, orange juice or hot milk, with the same volume of water. While it may sound ridiculously easy, the effects of this simple approach can be profound. One of the biggest causes of malaise during the winter holidays in dehydration, which is caused in part by people not drinking enough water, in part by the way we tend to heat our houses and in part by the way that we confuse being thirsty with being hungry and tending to eat when we should be drinking. Matching the volume of other drinks with the same volume of water removes that problem. It also keeps plenty of fluid in our systems so that our kidneys can flush impurities and toxins out, stops us getting such bad hangovers because our brains don’t shrink through lack of fluid and allows our appetite regulator to kick in when we’ve had enough to drink so we don’t overeat in the mistaken assumption that we’re hungry.

Make A Fruit Pyramid

Instead of piling your plate with sugary puddings, cream and fats, make a pyramid of fruit, starting with bulky items at the bottom (pineapple slices, melon slices, bananas etc) and rising to anti-oxidant rich berries like blueberries, cherries or currants (either fresh, frozen or dried, all are good for you!). You can have your fruit pyramid for breakfast, or instead of your pudding after dinner – either way it provides you with all the vitamins, fibre and anti-oxidants you need for an entire day and it’s delicious too!

Rise And Be Regular

It’s not about your bowels but about the hours when you eat! All too often we use the holidays as an excuse to abandon our best habits, and one of those is our mealtimes. If you start eating late in the day, skipping breakfast, having main meals for both lunch and dinner, you’re setting yourself up for ill health and weight gain. Try to keep to your usual mealtimes as much as possible and in between meals, get up and walk around, either taking a brisk walk outside or going around the house tidying up or playing a game with the kids – anything that gets your body moving will trip the switches from ‘hibernation’ to ‘utilisation’ and start burning up some of the calories you’ve consumed.

Almost Christmas pudding

A food-pyramid-friendly version.

Ingredients

  • 350 grams frozen berries (defrosted)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 75 grams muesli
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Method

Preheat oven to 190C. Mix fruits with honey and apples. Tip into greased baking dish and cover with lid or foil before baking for twenty minutes. Mix muesli with butter and scatter over fruit before baking for a further 15 minutes. Serve hot.

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