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Moderation, not self deprivation is the answer, says nutritionist Vicky Warr

Christmas is coming and while the goose may be getting fat, you may want to avoid busting your healthy eating routine for the sake of one day of indulgence!

“On a typical Christmas Day, the average Brit consumes a staggering 7,000 calories,” says Vicky Warr, director of West London-based Beez Kneez fitness consultancy. “A normal daily intake should be about 1,800 for women and 2,200 for men. But Christmas pudding and brandy butter alone can add up to 1,200 calories. To burn off just that pudding energy you would need to run for two hours or complete a half marathon. It’s no wonder there are so many detox diets and people rushing to join a gym in January.”

But the really scary facts are that over the Christmas season, the ‘average’ person puts on between 7-9lb of fat (1/2 stone) and loses 3-5 lbs of muscle by vegging out on the sofa. The more fat your body has, the fewer calories you need, even when you are resting. So by increasing the fat in your body, the slower your resting metabolic rate will become, making it even easier to pile on the pounds.

Still, nobody wants to be a party pooper. Here’s Vicky’s guide to a guilt-free Yuletide.

• Plan ahead – write a list of all the food shopping you need and buy the store cupboard essentials well in advance. Leave the fresh produce until as late as possible so it won’t go off. This way you won’t end up foraging for fatty leftovers.
• Prepare yourself – it’s more fun and you’ll then be able to control salt, sugar and fat content. Ready meals often have a lot of added extras. Avoid!
• Moderation not deprivation! Enjoy your treats but don’t blow out. So, a chocolate here and there is OK but eating the whole box is overdoing it!
• Water up – no doubt you’ll be drinking alcohol so avoid getting dehydrated. Water is key to sustaining energy levels; if you don’t drink enough water you’ll feel lethargic.
• Veg out – not of the sofa variety but of the fresh, seasonal type – these will power you up with antioxidants and nutrients to help boost your immune system after the partying has finished!
• Breakfast – avoid the trap of skipping this just because you think you’re having a big lunch. A light breakfast is important to stop you reaching for the biscuits and chocolate mid morning.
• Booze – Mix spirits with slimline tonic or fresh orange juice and sparkling water. Red wine contains about 85 calories per glass compared with 110 calories for sweet white wine or cider. A less calorific cocktail would be a vodka or gin pub measure, mixed with some pomegranate juice, sparkling water and slices of fruit. At least that way your body will take in some vitamin C. Alternatively, try tomato juice with vodka or white wine mixed with sparkling water, to dilute the alcohol and make your drink last longer. Mulled wine is a better option for Christmas Day, again add lots of fruit slices and avoid adding extra sugar.
• Move the body – best cure for a hangover is some fresh, crisp winter air and some quick steps. A power walk for 30 minutes mid-morning will clear the head, ready for your festive lunch.


A boost for Breakfast
Make up a delicious fruit platter the day before, cover it and place it in the fridge. Go for the citrus fruits that are in season. Try grapefruit, oranges, kiwis and red apples. Add figs and pomegranate (you can blend up the seeds to make a juice and pour it over the grapefruit) for more variety. Serve up with natural yoghurt, some chopped nuts and a drizzle of honey. This will then keep you going until lunch.

Serving up Lunch
• Turkey is one of the leanest meats around and a great source of protein.
Roast the turkey on a rack so the fat can drip into a tray below and peel off the skin. Add fresh herbs – thyme or rosemary and some olive oil and pepper.
• Try sweet potatoes and new potatoes to make you feel fuller for longer and increase your fibre intake. Roast the sweet potatoes in small amount of oil and steam the new pots.
• Wrap ready-to-eat prunes in small strips of back bacon, stretching the strips so they go twice as far.
• If you’re having sausages, buy organic ones and grill them, don’t roast them.
• Get stuffed - Use brown breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion and fresh herbs, bind together with egg and cook in the oven.
• Gravy - Use a few tablespoons of red wine and add to the meat juices, then mix in a tbsp of flour. Add stock (made with a cube) and some lemon juice, stir until thick.
• Veg - Steam these just before you are about to serve up. Add a small knob of butter and some fresh parsley or other herbs to Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Steamed parsnips are great with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese; you can just grill them for a couple of minutes to make them go brown.
• Pudding – try making up some Christmas Knickerbocker Glories with jelly and berries and crème fraiche. Grate dark chocolate over the top.
• Make mince pies without the pastry lid or cut off the lid if you have brought them. Add a dollop of natural yoghurt or teaspoon of crème fraiche.

Scrumptious Supper
Serve up cold meats with loads of colourful salads, peppers, avocado, tomato salsa, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Wholemeal pitta bread with hummus is light and tasty.

Chomping on chocolate
It’s tricky to not eat chocolate at Christmas – so treat yourself to dark chocolate or a small bar of chocolate that contains a high percentage of cocoa solids, like Green & Blacks. The less room there is for sugar and fat and the greater the chocolate taste to get your chocolate fix.

Nice but not as naughty nibbles
Yes to: pistachios, mixed nuts and raisins, mini oatcakes, mini wholemeal pittas with pesto, pretzels and plain popcorn; soft cheese wrapped in salmon, salsa dips with carrots and crudités or sushi.
No to: fatty crisps, salted peanuts and all pre-prepared dishes like mini samosas, prawn toasts and cocktail sausages.

Fit Fun
In the afternoon, get outdoors for a burst of fresh air, even if it’s just a bracing walk or a bike ride.

Last, remember Christmas is supposed to be fun! If you do overdo it and feel guilty afterwards, just look forward to the New Year, get back on track with your eating and take some exercise!

Notes to editors:
Vicky Warr is a Fitness Professionals and YMCA-accredited personal fitness trainer and nutritionist with over nine years’ experience in coaching with specific successes with brides, mums to be and new mums. She is consultant and writer for, a nationwide youth fitness initiative, nutritionist at Bedford Park Surgery in West London and a regular contributor to BBC radio. Vicky is available for interview.

Enquiries for nutrition advice and fitness training:
Victoria Warr, Director
Tel: 020 8 354 1583

Media enquiries:
Louisa Mousley, PR officer at the Beez Kneez
Tel: 020 8 354 1583 Email:

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