Tis’ the season to be jolly - and let’s face it, a mulled wine or three helps us get in to the festive spirit. However, in the January aftermath it’s common for us to moan about our overindulgence over the holidays, blaming all those Christmas parties where we felt obliged to partake in the cocktails and canapés (when the reality is we were hunting them down).
To save us all from the post-Christmas guilt trip we’ve rounded up the best drinks and nibbles so you can enjoy yourself without having to plan a full body detox in the New Year. Nutritional Consultant, Gemma Landau and Nutritional Therapist, Anne-France Rix, from The Food Doctor Clinic share their insider tips on what to avoid and the skinny-jeans-friendly alternative.
Bailey’s Irish Cream vs Bloody Mary
Bailey’s: 327 calories for 100ml with 13grams of fat
Bloody Mary: 125 calories per serving 0.1grams of fat
Calories saved: 202
Fat saved: 12.9 grams
Anne-France Rix suggests 'opting for Vodka rather than creamy or darker spirits' as it has fewer additives. This reduces the workload on your liver to help with the detoxification process.
If you do crave a Bailey’s at Christmas don’t deny yourself, just don’t overdo it. Stick to a single measure with lots of ice and sip it slowly. Treats are allowed, just in moderation.
Egg Nog vs Mulled Wine
Egg Nog with Rum: 440 calories for one glass with 13.3 grams of fat
Mulled Wine: 220 calories for a medium sized glass with 0g of fat
Calories saved: 220
Fat saved: 13.3 grams
Mulled wine is the perfect winter warmer and luckily for us has a few health benefits too. Dieticians claim that food and drinks (including red wine and dark chocolate) are rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can be good for the heart when taken in small quantities.
The creamy Christmas favourite, Egg Nog is full of cream. Too much of this rich drink and you’ll feel sluggish the next day.
Pina Colada vs Margarita
Pina Colada: Up to 500 calories for a large cocktail glass with 17 grams of fat
Margarita: 160 calories for a cocktail with 0.8 grams of fat
Calories saved: 340
Fat saved: 16.2 grams
With more fat and calories than a McDonalds Big Mac the classic Pina Colada is not for calorie conscious. Make the swap and you don’t have to feel guilty about that extra cocktail you guzzle at the end of the night.
Gemma Landau warns 'step away from the creamy cocktails'. Where there is cream, there is fat (and not the good kind like you find in avocados) and when this combines with excess sugar that’s when you’ll notice your Christmas drinking taking an impact on your waistline.
Pigs in Blankets vs Smoked salmon
Pigs in Blankets: 140 calories for two and 10 grams of fat
Smoked Salmon: 100 calories for two with 2 grams of fat
Calories saved: 40
Fat saved: 8 grams
Anne-France Rix suggests sticking to 'canapés made from oily fish because they are packed full of omega-3 for your skin and hair'. The protein and amino acid content helps to break down the process of alcohol too, so a perfect match if you’re drinking.
The naughty pigs in blankets are a must on Christmas day, but at the parties leading up try swap these for the fish option.
Salted Peanuts vs Dry Almonds
Salted Peanuts: 200 calories in a handful with 17 grams of fat
Dry Almonds: 150 calories in a handful with 13.5 grams of fat
Calories saved: 50
Fat saved: 3.5
Although there isn’t a massive difference between the calories and the fat content with these two options, it’s the salt you need to watch out for. Salted nuts have around 15% of your recommended daily salt intake in just a small handful so it can easily creep up in just one night. Salt leads to high blood pressure, obesity, and kidney disease – so stay clear. The high salt content also makes you drink more through dehydration which can lead to more calories.
Almonds are the super-nut for your hair and your skin. Packed full of vitamin E, calcium, iron and zinc they are the most nutritious nut you can eat. The good fats in almonds are easily broken down by the body and the zinc<
Camembert Parcels vs Roasted Veggie Skewers
Camembert Parcels: 140 calories for two with 9 grams of fat
Roasted Veggie Skewers: 50 calories for one skewer with 0.5 grams of fat
Calories saved: 90
Fat saved: 8.5
Gemma Landau warns 'avoid deep fried foods especially after a couple of festive mulled wines when anything in breadcrumbs or tempura batter can look extra appealing'. And we know it’s dull, but if you really want to watch your waistline avoid anything in pastry too.
Veggie skewers are easy to make and are cheaper than buying them in. Choose your favourite veggies and a marinade (the spicier the better, this will rev up your metabolism). Serve with a low-fat yoghurt dip.