[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
The end of year celebrations generally represent times of sharing, abundance of food, deliciously endless meals and indulgence. Far from wanting to shake up the food traditions linked to this period of taste pleasures, certain points must be mastered in order to avoid (re)gaining weight in the long term.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
During this period, temptation is great and revolves around fatty, sweet and salty products, and alcohol is often omnipresent. It is essential to be aware that the weight gain generated by these meals is most of the time temporary. Indeed, if the diet is usually controlled, one to two weeks of high-calorie and less balanced meals will not overcome your efforts, especially if these efforts are maintained after the holidays. Furthermore, you may be subject to transit disorders during this period, which is normal given the composition of the meals.
Tips to know so that weight gain is only temporary, or even non-existent.
During these large meals, weight gain is most often due to excessive consumption of salty foods and alcohol. In fact, these products cause an imbalance in your hydration and cause the body to retain water. This is partly what makes you feel “bloated” and heavy at the end of the holidays. Additionally, eating larger portions than usual at each meal puts more work on your digestive system, which will take longer to digest your meals. So, simply resuming your eating habits after the holidays should be enough to help you (re)lose the weight accumulated during this period.
Despite everything, if you want to limit weight gain and avoid excesses which would lead to digestive discomfort, I advise you not to exceed the following quantities (if you have many holiday meals close together):
- Oysters: 6/day
- Cold meats and smoked salmon: 100 g/day (2 slices of ham/salmon + 1 thin slice of foie gras)
- Meats: 150 g/day
- Fried foods: ¼ plate/day
- Candied (figs, onions, etc.): 1 tbsp1/day
- Stuffing (chestnuts, for example): 2 tablespoons/meal
- Accompanying sauces (main dish): 2 tbsp/meal
- Vinaigrette: 1 tbsp/meal
- Cheeses : 30 to 60 g/day
- Desserts: 2 portions/day (2 cm thick depending on the dessert)
- Pastries: ½ croissant/day = ½ pain au chocolat
- Bread: 80 to 100 g/day (4 to 5 slices)
- Alcohol: 3 glasses/meal
- Chocolates: 5/day
Note : Don’t forget to respect the rules of balance as best you can. food if you want to maintain good shape general.
If you are lucky enough to have raw vegetables at every meal, the fact remains that the question of vinaigrette can pose a problem: some like it with a lot of oil, others with a lot of vinegar and most importantly, everyone wants a different amount of vinaigrette on their plate! In order to be able to control your consumption, the ideal is to be able to prepare raw vegetables and seasoning separately so that everyone can help themselves to their convenience. If you are not the host of the meal, and if you can, serve yourself first so as not to have the end of the dish which is generally more concentrated in seasoning. In any case, avoid adding sauce to your plate.
When it comes to drinks, it’s not always easy either! Festive meals are convivial and sharing times, however, limiting alcohol will help you avoid becoming significantly dehydrated and will facilitate your digestion. You are advised not to consume more than two to three glasses per meal (aperitif + wine + champagne/digestive).
If you want to be able to try more alcohol, consider only serving half a glass each time. However, keep in mind that alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health and it is more reasonable to avoid mixing it. Furthermore, to avoid being refilled often, drinking your glass slowly is a good tip and you can also fill it with water during the meal (if you only have one glass at the table).
During these meals, the body is exposed to many foods and drinks that promote dehydration. To avoid this, remember to regularly drink water at the table, which will also allow you to limit the quantities of food consumed by giving you a feeling of satiety. It’s easy to drink water during a meal: just drink a large glass before each new dish and that’s it!
What about sparkling water? Well it all depends on which ones you choose and how much you will consume! I advise you to limit water rich in salt and favor those which are rich in bicarbonates because they will facilitate your digestion. Be careful though of bubbles which can cause digestive problems in certain people.
Avoid discomfort related to transit
Let’s return to the subject of transit: the stomach, liver and intestines are put to the test during the end-of-year holidays. This is why, in order to avoid discomfort linked to transit (bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, etc.) it is essential to consume raw vegetables. I advise you to favor a contribution of raw vegetables as a starter and as an accompaniment to the cheese as soon as possible. Likewise, yogurts help improve transit2 thanks to the lactic ferments present there. I advise you to consume 1 to 2 per day (within the limit of 3 servings of dairy products per day).
Furthermore, fruits are often neglected or consumed in excess during celebrations because they are either forgotten or considered “health foods” to compensate for hearty meals. Fruits should of course continue to be part of your diet during this period because they provide vitamins, minerals and fiber, essential for maintaining good shape. However, we must not forget that they are a source of sugar. I therefore recommend that you consume one to two portions of fruit per day, if possible for breakfast and as a snack (2 clementines, 2 kiwis, 1 orange, etc.)
Now comes the long awaited question of chocolate ! If there is one big temptation during the end-of-year celebrations, it’s chocolate! There is of course no question of depriving yourself of it, but it is essential to control your consumption. To do this, choose chocolates rich in cocoa (which are more quickly cloying) and choose to enjoy your chocolate rather than eating it quickly: take the time to carefully choose your chocolate by looking at the small list on the back of the box, observe- it, smell it, then bite half of the bite, place it on the tongue, let it melt gently, and try to find all the flavors and textures announced on the box through the taste buds and the nose. Then, take the full measure of the pleasure brought by this chocolate by tasting the 2th mouthful!
In order to limit the intake of chocolate, I advise you to consume it at the end of meals (when you are no longer hungry).
Exercising physical activity
Finally, let’s finish with one of the most important points: physical activity! So while of course you’re probably not going to take up sports or try to break records during this time, staying moving is essential! Unfortunately, this point is often neglected due to the weather or sometimes difficult digestion. However, low to medium intensity physical activity is a real ally for digestion. You can therefore take a more or less brisk walk of 15 to 20 minutes after each meal when possible or play games such as family consoles, mimes, etc. Also remember to laugh! And yes, laughter mobilizes the abdominal muscle chains (which burns a lot of calories!) and in this way, you will promote your digestion by massaging your intestines! Pretty clever, right?! Furthermore, I strongly advise you to carry out 20 minutes of intense physical activity twice a week (running, sports dancing, brisk walking, cycling, etc.) because this will help you sleep well and keep you in shape. !
If you are unable to leave the house between meals due to the weather, remember to ventilate the living room after the meal: this will replenish your oxygen supply and therefore optimize the functioning of your body to properly digest!
Now that you have all the keys in hand, I wish you a happy holiday season!
1 CS: Tablespoon
2 Except for people with lactose intolerance and allergic to milk proteins.