Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.00 25 Dec 2019


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Christmas is about celebrating and enjoying some lovely food - in moderation.

The average person gains five to nine pounds in December.

And an estimated 62,500 people in Ireland suffer from coeliac disease.

An additional 390,000 people are intolerant or sensitive to gluten in food.

However these days there are a lot more gluten-free treats around to make the festive season special.

It can be an even harder struggle to end Christmas the same size that you started.

So, to make sure you enjoy Christmas - and the treats that come with it - here are 10 top tips on how to indulge yourself while keeping the calories in check

Don't sweat the staples: The best thing about Christmas for people with coeliac disease or who are gluten intolerant is that so many of the staple foods are gluten-free.

Turkey, ham, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and smoked salmon all come without gluten.

Enjoy these but remember to use gluten-free bread for the stuffing and to use corn flour instead of wheat for the gravy.

Only snack if you feel hungry: At Christmas, there are a lot more nibbles and snacks around and it is easy to keep picking away at chocolates and mince pies.

Check if you are hungry before you snack. That way you can enjoy a treat if you are and you can wait a while if you are not.

Out of sight, out of mind: You may not be looking for food, but you will pick at something if you see it.

Try to keep treats and snacks in cupboards and at the back of the fridge until you need them.

Leaving chocolate on the counter or treats at the front of the fridge makes you much more likely to graze as you go by.

Don't buy so much: We overload shopping trollies at Christmas and then end up eating everything or throwing it out.

Think about how many guests you are going to have and how much they will actually eat. Remember, if your guests don't eat it, you probably will. Shop smart and save pounds.

Keep an eye on portion sizes: Pay attention to how much food is on your plate and how much you need.

A good trick is to look at your hand with your fingers spread out. If what is on your actual plate is more than this, then push a little to one side to get the right amount.

Once you get over the initial shock of leaving some food behind, you will find you have much less indigestion after Christmas nights out.

Try to balance your plate like you would at home: ½ vegetables or salad; ¼ protein and ¼ carbs. It's not always going to be perfect but it will help

How many courses? If dessert is your thing, then skip the starter on Christmas nights out.

If you love savoury then don't feel you have to have dessert. Instead of thinking, "if I've paid for it, I'm going to eat it", try to think, "if I eat it, I'm going to pay for it".

Limit alcohol: Not only does it add calories (a bottle of wine can have up to 700) alcohol is also an appetite stimulant.

This means that you eat more both on the night but also the following day. Do your liver and your waistline a favour and have a few alcohol free nights and limit how many drinks you have on a Christmas night out.

Move: Exercise won't cancel out all of the extra food you eat, but it will help offset some of the worst excesses.

Factor in 20 minutes of exercise everyday over Christmas - a walk, a run, a cycle, an exercise DVD, or simply skipping for five or 10 minutes. It all helps.

Let it all go on Christmas Day: One day of unadulterated indulgence a year won't do you any harm.

You might eat 6,000 calories on the day, but that's fine - it only becomes a problem if you keep that up for the whole 12 days of Christmas.


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Calories Christmas Christmas Food Coeliac Disease Eating Advice Gluten Intolerance

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