Did you know the average person will gain 3kg over the festive period according to the British Dietetic Association? We’re going to teach you how to go against the grain and actually lose weight over Christmas. Here are five festive foods that will help you shed the pounds.
That’s right; everyone’s favourite Christmas spice is also a fat burning marvel. Cinnamon is a hugely versatile festive ingredient, and according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, it could be just what you’re looking for to help shift those holiday pounds. Participants in the study were given a cinnamon extract twice a day for 12 weeks, and the results were astonishing. At the end of the study all participants displayed lower levels of inflammation, less oxidative stress, and some even saw a reduction in body fat and an increase in lean muscle. Cinnamon’s versatility means you won’t get bored of it, so start aiming for your daily dose throughout the festive period and watch the pounds fall off.
Recipe idea: Use cinnamon to add a festive fat burning twist to a bowl of granola and natural maple syrup.
This Christmas staple is definitely one that you need to be eating more of if you want to lose weight over the festive period. Taking a look at the breakdown of cranberries is like a nutritional who’s-who of what you should look for in fat burning foods – vitamin C, vitamin E, fibre and antioxidants are all present and just waiting to help you slim down. The University of Tehran did some in-depth studies into this super fruit, and discovered that it’s also great at improving cardiovascular health and reducing oxidative stress. So this year it should be your fat burning mission to make sure you don’t skip the cranberry sauce on Christmas day.
Recipe idea: Aside from the obvious turkey combo, serve cranberries at breakfast as the perfect accompaniment to pancakes.
From now on whenever you smell chestnuts roasting on an open fire, forget Christmas and think fat loss. During the festive season fresh chestnuts are readily available, and you absolutely have to stock up on this little miracle food. Because of their high starch content and sweet taste, chestnuts help keep you full for longer, and banish your body’s cravings for sugar-filled sweet foods. Chestnuts are also the lowest calorie nuts out there, with the next closest, walnuts, having three times as many calories per ounce. That means you can snack on a handful of them guilt free and enjoy some much-needed Christmas weight loss. To top it all off, researchers at Harvard University recently found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20 per cent less at risk of common health problems than those who didn’t.
Recipe idea: Take some inspiration from Nat himself and roast a batch of chestnuts to snack on throughout the day and kill your sweet cravings.
Most people already eat some turkey over the festive period, but did you know it could be the key to setting you on the path to your New Year weight loss? Turkey is the perfect festive meat because it’s high in protein (one serving will provide around 65 per cent of your recommended daily intake), low in saturated fat, and is packed full of vitamins B3 and B6, which lower cholesterol and boost the production of red blood cells.
To get the most of turkey’s fat burning potential, it’s important that you buy an organic turkey for your Christmas meal. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that organically raised turkeys contained higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid – a powerful nutrient that is linked to improved health and weight management.
Recipe idea: For a healthy turkey feast on Christmas day make sure you remove the skin, as it contains twice as much fat as the actual meat.
We hate to break it to you, we really do, but this most hated of Christmas foods is also one of the best for a fat blasting festive season. If you can manage to get over your dislike for them, then sprouts need to be on your Christmas plate if you’re looking to lose weight this festive season. Sprouts are a dieter’s dream because they’re full to the brim with fibre, calcium, potassium and vitamin A, which means they leave you feeling full without resulting in weight gain. They’re also great for general heart and brain health because of the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids they contain, which is a bonus we can all get on board with this Christmas.
Recipe idea: Sprouts don’t have to be disgusting. Roast them for around 30-40 minutes and add salt, pepper and a splash of lemon for a tasty twist on this Christmas classic.