Celebrating a healthy Christmas and New Year Celebrating a healthy Christmas and New Year

Perhaps it is not the best season to stick to diets. However, there are some tips you can follow to enjoy the holidays without regrets and weight gain.

Medical advisor: Sandra Alfaro – Nutritionist dietitian, specialist in Clinical Nutrition
Coomeva Private Healthcare practitioner

When January comes around, many complain that they can’t fit into their clothes. They go up a size after allowing themselves to eat and drink as they please. To avoid this, you can follow a few simple strategies recommended by nutritionist and dietitian Sandra Alfaro: make natilla with skim milk and a sweetener instead of sugar; only make the necessary amount of buñuelos instead of exaggerating and going back for seconds; and avoid drinking too much alcohol.

She adds that only having one bite of traditional Christmas food is no way to control this temptation. Instead, you can make small adjustments to not overdo it with pastries, empanadas, and other treats.

 1. Balance the ingredients

  • By replacing some ingredients, you can lower the calories in some of your dishes. Try to serve cookies, buñuelos, and arequipe with fruit, tomatoes, cheeses, vegetables, and oat breads. Not everything needs to be carbohydrates and sweets.
  • Make your own sauce and avoid processed sauces that have more calories. One idea is to cut a pineapple, add panela and drops of vinegar, and serve it as a side dish with meat. Also, you can make a healthy, homemade vinaigrette with lime, yogurt, mango, and vinegar.
  • If you are thinking of making pastries, add a little bit of sugar when preparing them, and avoid adding more as a garnish after they are already done. This is not necessary since the pastries were made with sugar.
  • Make either pastries or buñuelos, but not both at the same time.

 2. Pay attention to quantity

  • With a pound of natilla, you can feed up to 16 people, so don’t buy more than you need. If you make three boxes, your guests will likely eat everything you prepare, but you’ll have enough for everyone with just one box.
  • With cold meats, one person can eat up to 80 grams of protein. Buy a turkey or a duck, which are low in fat, and with one pound you can feed up to 5 people (100 grams per person).

 3. Control alcohol comsumption

  • One gram of liquor has 7 calories. “Drink alcohol as if you were eating fat”, states the nutritionist. You have to be cautious with this product, so plan what you are going to buy, and remember that your liver only processes 10 grams of alcohol per day.
  • One shot of whisky has 350 calories, a little more than a portion of natilla (300 calories). On the other hand, the body’s vital functions burn 1,600 calories per day. Calories that aren’t burned accumulate as fat. If every day in December you accumulate 300 extra calories that aren’t burned – which is equivalent to 38 grams of fat – you will gain close to a kilo.
  • Stay hydrated, especially when eating desserts, buñuelos, pastries, natilla, or drinking liquor. Try to drink water and not sodas to keep sugar intake at a minimum.
  • Buy alcohol in trustworthy places to avoid adulterated alcohol. This advice also applies for food.