As we all know it's very easy to over indulge at Christmas, and before you know it the festive period may have left you with some unwanted pounds. Then you spend all of January desperately trying to lose it. Here is some advice on how to make your Christmas Calorie Neutral this year.

We want to start by saying, we know Christmas is only one day in 365 and for many the demands of their training regimes more than allows for them to ‘live a little’ on the big day. We certainly will be! But for those that are conscious of the festive pounds or just interested in the facts and figures of nutrition around Christmas, by all means read on. But, if you want to enjoy Christmas in ignorant bliss, then maybe head to one of our other articles instead.

The Christmas Dinner (around 900kcal)

The Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for how much we should eat states that an average man should consume around 2500 kcal per day and women around 2000 kcal a day to maintain weight. As you can see from this break-down, by taking average servings for your Christmas dinner you are already close to consuming 50% of your GDA on one plate, this doesn’t even include all the naughty festive treats and puddings that are probably still to come.

  • Roast turkey (4 thin slices) = 150kcal
  • Roast potatoes (3 medium) = 300kcal
  • Roast parsnips (2 serving spoons) = 43kcal
  • Cranberry sauce (2-3 teaspoons) = 40kcal
  • Carrots (2 serving spoons) = 13kcal
  • Sage & onion stuffing (medium portion) = 135kcal
  • Cocktail sausages (4) = 123kcal
  • Sprouts (2 serving spoons) = 40kcal
  • Bread sauce (medium portion) = 50kcal

Christmas dinner as a whole is not that bad for you. Turkey is one of the leanest meats available and a plate filled with vegetables is always great as you are ticking off some of your 5-a-day. However, you need to be careful with cooking methods, when roasting opt for olive oil as opposed to other fat.

Where possible go with homemade condiments such as bread and cranberry sauce as these are generally healthier as you can avoid adding extra sugar.

Be sensible with portion sizes, don’t eat with your eyes and pile it on your plate, chances are you will still eat it all. Start with smaller portions, as you will probably find them more than sufficient.

Burn off those treats

Lets have a look at some festive treats and how much cycling you would need to do to make the calorie neutral.

Top Tip

When buying or making your own mince pies, always opt for an open-topped variety. Pastry is quite fatty, so using less will definitely help cut the calories. Better still why not make your own, try our homemade mincemeat recipe.

Top Tip

Drinking too much alcohol at Christmas will increase your appetite and may mess with your decision-making process. This means being able to say no to that extra serving of Christmas pudding probably isn’t going to happen. If you want to drink it’s better to opt for single spirits with slimline mixers, half pints, or dilute drinks down with soda. Alternating with non-alcoholic drinks should help you feel a bit fresher on Boxing Day and more likely to be ready and able to do some training.

Top Tip

When reaching for the dips this Christmas, go for tomato-based options such as salsa instead of creamy based dips like sour cream and chives. They are just as tasty but lower in calories.

As you can see, when you settle down to watch a festive film or listen to the Queen’s Speech and innocently tuck into a couple of handfuls of crisps, devour a few Quality Street or mince pies, and wash it down with a nice cold pint you could easily consume another 730 kcal on top of your Christmas dinner.

We think moderation is the key to Christmas. Enjoy the day and don’t fret too much about that extra mince pie, at least you now know what you’ll have to do to work it off come Boxing Day and you’ve got the perfect excuse for a slightly longer than usual ride… or two.

The traditional Christmas indulgence can span most of December and it is quite easy for people to put on up to 7kg over the festive period. If these are kilograms of fat it will equate to something in the region of 53,000kcal, meaning you may have to ride for an additional 90 to 120 hours at 12-14 mph to lose these 7kg – that’s quite a long bike ride.

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