It’s almost that time of year again when we look forward to all the festivities that Christmas brings with lots of parties, socialising and enjoying festive dining. However, for those that are struggling to battle the bulge being surrounded by all the temptations of high calorie food and drink it can be a time of despair.

It is just a case of being sensible. You can still enjoy all the celebrations of Christmas at this magical time of year. You can easily make healthy choices by following the top ten tips below:

1.       Start the day with a healthy breakfast e.g. fruit/low fat yoghurt, porridge with dried fruit, wholegrain toast/muffins with low fat spread.

2.       Starters – you could chose something with smoked salmon on crackers, melon or homemade vegetable soup.

3.       Main course – turkey is very low fat, high protein (ensure you take off the skin), for vegetarians try a Quorn roast or a nut & vegetable bake.

4.       Roast potatoes – try and use an oil spray such as rapeseed/sunflower oil and not have too many of these.

5.       Vegetables – aim to cover a 1/3 of your plate with vegetables which are a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals and very filling.  Don’t cook for too long.  Either steam or microwave to keep all the nutrients in.  If you are cooking in water only use a small amount to reduce the amount of nutrients lost in the water.

6.       Desserts – have fresh fruit salad (with crème freshe) as an alternative.  Also, Christmas pudding does contain lots of fruit so have a small portion and serve with crème freshe/low fat custard.

7.       Cheese boards – watch your portion sizes as cheese can be highly calorific.  Try and choose lower fat versions such as Edam, goats cheese, camembert.  Have with high fibre crackers such as oatcakes.

8.       Watch out for those snacks – it is often the biscuits, cakes, sweets that tend to pile on the pounds.  Make sure that there are healthy alternatives around as well – for example popcorn, pretzels, satsumas, dried fruit, raw vegetables and low fat dips.

9.       Alcohol – provides lots of empty calories.  Try and make healthier choices so choose low calorie diet mixers with spirits.  Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.

10.   Be active – ensure that you keep active and get some fresh air by perhaps going for a daily walk over the festive season.  This is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

I wish you all the best for a fabulous Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all.