Seven easy ways to keep the calories down while still indulging this Christmas

Christmas can be a challenging time of year if youre trying to keep the weight off and stick to a healthy diet.But the good news is it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself.
While many of us have been ‘indulging’ as we drank and ate our way through the car crash that was 2020, UK-based diet guru Terri-Ann Nunns has said there are ways you can enjoy the odd tipple while keeping your calorie count in check, The Sun reports.
“Some really simple swaps can be made to ensure that calorie intake is reduced without putting a dampener on your festive spirits,” she said.
Here, Nunns shares her top seven alcohol swaps that can help you enjoy the festive season without worrying about piling on the pounds.
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Celebrating Christmas with a glass of bubbles rather than a large glass of wine will significantly cut down your calorie intake.
“A large glass of wine contains 220 calories whereas a glass of prosecco has just 85 calories,” Ms Nunns said.
“All wines and prosecco brands vary in alcohol and sugar content, but a glass of prosecco is likely to be less than half the calories of a large glass of wine.
“A large glass of wine is 250ml, or a third of a bottle, whereas fizz is served in smaller glasses, generally serving 125ml.
“You often find that the sugar content can be lower in prosecco which, again, gives it the edge when it comes to calories.
“A glass of prosecco will provide you with 1.5 units of alcohol whereas a large glass of wine is likely to be around three units.”
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This may seem obvious but swapping a schooner of beer for a bottle significantly reduces the volume you will drink and therefore the calories, especially if you plan to have more than one.
A schooner of lager contains 210 calories whereas a bottle has 140.
“The term ‘beer belly’ doesn’t exist without reason. Beer can be a big contributor to weight gain,” Ms Nunns said.
“Although the percentage ABV (alcohol by volume) is less than wine for example, the volume in which beer is consumed if drinking pints means that the calories mount up very quickly.”
By changing your mixer to one that is sugar-free, you can make a significant reduction to your calorie intake.
In particular, a regular gin and tonic is 100 calories whereas one made with slimline tonic is 60 calories.
Ms Nunns said: “If you are trying to manage your weight, this is a really easy swap to make and the taste is virtually the same.
“Slimline tonics and other related drinks use sweeteners instead of sugar with a resulting calorie reduction.’
She said the figures were based on single measures only, which means if you like a double, this will up your calorie intake.
“If you opt for a double, you are adding around 55 calories per additional measure of gin,” she said.
“And, if you are pouring your own measures at home, it’s very easy for single measures to turn into triples – which may mean more fun but also means more calories.”
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Serving cocktails on arrival is a given at many festive events, so it’s worth choosing wisely if you are watching your weight.
For instance, a Long Island iced tea contains a staggering 400 calories and comes laden with a combination of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec and cola.
“So it’s really is no surprise that, dependent on quantities used, this drink can reach 400 calories if not more,” Ms Nunns said.
“Not taking into account the potential of a looming hangover, the calorie content of this drink is more than a cheeseburger from McDonald’s.
“If you want to go for a healthier cocktail, choosing something like a Bloody Mary would mean you would consume much fewer calories and you could even hit two of your five a day (servings of vegetables) if you’re having 150ml tomato juice and if you eat the celery stick afterwards.”
Everyone loves a glass of dessert wine after their meal, however, one small glass totals up to 118 calories.
Instead, Ms Nunns recommends going for a glass of sherry, which is just 60 calories.
“If you want a sweet alcoholic treat to follow your meal, opting for a glass of sherry would halve your calorie intake in comparison to a small glass of dessert wine,” she said.
“You are served smaller quantities of sherry as it has a higher alcohol content compared to other wines, coming in at around 18-20 per cent ABV.”
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You can slash a huge number of calories by opting for a sloe gin instead of eggnog.
Eggnog can contain up to 350 calories, while sloe gin has just 85 calories.
“Eggnog is made with milk, egg and sugar in addition to the alcohol of choice so, depending on the amounts of ingredients used, a glass of eggnog could quite easily exceed 350 calories,” Ms Nunns said.
“This has to be one of the most indulgent drinks around Christmas time and certainly won’t help if you are trying to manage your weight. Another drink that is equally enjoyable but for different reasons is sloe gin.
“You can have it warm or on ice but it is still a tasty treat – with much fewer calories.”
Christmas is a popular time to enjoy a glass of whiskey, either neat, on the rocks or served with a mixer.
A single shot, which is equal to a 25ml measure, is around 64 calories.
While this drink comes with fewer calories, those watching their weight are advised to stick to single measures and to opt for low-calorie or sugar-free mixers.
For a healthier swap, choose vodka served as a single measure. One 25ml pour is around 50 calories.
“A double measure with a sweet mixer like Coke is around 170 calories a pop, which is more than a schooner of beer,” experts at Glamour Magazine said.
“So opt for single shots and mix with lo-cal soda and fresh lime instead.”
The article originally appeared on The Sun and was republished here with permission