This is a Christmas Calories Survival Guide for Australian Calorie Counters!
Christmas in Australia almost always includes tradition, family, friends, food, drink and binge eating. It is a tough season for the calorie-conscious, so we made this short guide to surviving each aspect of Christmas without packing on the kilos:
Christmas traditions date back into the mists of time. Most are innocuous, but the ones to watch out for are:
Hours of sitting cramped in the car can lead to boredom and discomfort. For many of us, when we are bored and uncomfortable, we eat.
If you are going to take a long road trip, you are going to eat and drink something in the car. Therefore, surviving the trip without seriously attacking your daily calorie target is going to involve the fine art of substitution:
- Swap out the lollies for carrot sticks or sugar-free chewing gum
- Drink water instead of sugary fizzies
- Avoid service station food like pies and doughnuts. Instead, pack your own snacks from home
- Choose fresh fruit over dried! Remember that a small dried fig has the same calories as a big fresh fig
The best way to avoid calorie overload with party foods and drink is to think about your entire day’s intake, rather than obsessing over that extra mini sausage-roll.
If you know that you will be partying it up in the evening, try to eat low-calorie, fibre and protein-rich foods like bran for breakfast and chicken breast for lunch. Thus, you will enjoy the party food more knowing that you have been “storing up” a calorie deficit all day.
This tip goes for all late night and early morning activities: remember to include whatever you eat and drink in your daily calorie tally. In other words, everything you eat and drink counts towards your daily count.
It is easy to forget the extra meals you eat outside of the usual breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack routine, so keep track!
Family and Friends
If your immediate and extended family are all supportive and encouraging you to hold strong in your efforts to control your calories, then you can skip this section. However, if there are people in your life who enjoy putting plates of mince pies by your elbow, you may need to try:
One of the best ways to get family and friends on board with your efforts to stay on track is to drop both subtle and not-so-subtle hints before you get together. Sometimes, a well-timed Facebook post about what you aim to achieve health-wise might be all that’s needed to stop a friend from laying out sour cream and chives dip along with the chips when you come over to visit.
BYO Christmas Calories
If you have the sort of family and friends who wouldn’t be taken aback if you bring your own salad-dressing to share, why not bring your own snacks and drinks along when you go over to theirs? That way, you can enjoy their company whilst to stick to your plan.
Just straight up tell people that you are watching your Christmas Calories over the festive season, so please stop offering the toasted almonds!
You might even discover that they are themselves worried about the social stigma of being weight-conscious, thus opening a new way for your relationship to deepen.
Christmas Calories: Food and Drink
Let’s face it, one of the best things about Christmas is the food. You are going to eat more than you usually do. Your stomach is going to feel full for days on end.
Since that is going to happen, try to make it happen with a good choice of food.
Be aware that there is a huge calorie difference between a belly full of caramel pecan pie and a belly full of roast beef.
Ultimately, the solution to surviving with your calorie target intact is to CHOOSE WISELY . If you do, you can come out on the other side of this season in relatively good shape.
A special note on seafood: seafood in general is a great choice for the season, but with one huge caveat. Try not to crumb, batter or sauce your ingredients. This is because, for example, the difference between steamed prawns and crumbed fried prawns is over 100 calories per 100g!
Whilst you could always hop onto Calorie Counter Australia to do some detailed checks, read this quick reference list of common Christmas food and drinks to get a sense of what you are up against (all values per 100g):
Christmas Ham: 207 calories
Roast Beef: 172 calories
Lamb Roast: 205 calories
Roast Chicken with Stuffing and Gravy: 220 calories
Stuffed Potato: 119 calories
Fruit Mince Pies: 416 calories
Christmas Pudding: 314 calories
Chocolate Mud Cake: 508 calories
Plum Pudding: 279 calories
Pavlova: 292 calories
Eggnog: 193 calories
Brandy: 214 calories
Sweet Sherry: 137 calories
Lemon, Lime and Bitters: 49 calories
Sausage roll: 255 calories
Ginger Nut Biscuits: 431 calories
Party Quiche: 257 calories
Double Cream Brie: 403 calories
Remember that traditional Christmas foods are almost always calorie-dense, so try to save them for specific feast days rather than spreading them throughout the festive season.
Christmas foods are luxuries to be long-anticipated and savoured slowly!
PS: Steaming seafood this season? Take a look at this cool pot!