There are just a few boxes in the Advent calendar to open: Christmas is near and New Year a little further on. And with Christmas there is also lunch to prepare. Choose your menu in time and get ready to go shopping on the 23rd: the products will stay fresh and you can start cooking something on Christmas Eve.
We must enjoy the good food and good company that the Christmas holidays give us, without guilt and deprivation. To do this, the important thing is to follow a balanced diet for the whole year, reserving the outrage exclusively to the days in red on the calendar.
Small precautions can help us to maintain the line and well-being even in these days, without having to give up the pleasure of conviviality. What to do in December? Plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and lean meat; avoid fried food, cheese, cold cuts, refined carbohydrates (breadsticks, buns, snacks, sweets...) and alcohol.
You will arrive at Christmas loaded: no guilt and ready to eat with greater awareness.
Here are a few tips to make the most of Christmas lunch:
1 - Fasting to compensate?
It's totally useless to skip the meal before the dinner/lunch: have a light breakfast and a lunch with a minestrone and legumes or steamed fish. Even in the days following Christmas you still need to maintain a light diet, without too much fat to rebalance.
2 - Eat slowly
If you are tired of eating, almost without chewing, you run the risk of eating more and then having digestive difficulties. Take your time: take small bites, chew slowly and enjoy the taste of what you have in your mouth.
3 - Password: quality
Avoid buying too many industrial products, rich in unhealthy fats and sugar, but rely on home recipes with selected ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, organic eggs, fresh milk and seasonal vegetables.
4 - Vegetable and fish starters
It is advisable to eat a bit of raw vegetables before the main meal so as not to overdo it at the table. Why not prepare a series of appetizers with vegetables and fish, leaving cheese and cold cuts on other occasions. A few examples: seafood salads with octopus and artichokes, herb marinated salmon, fennel and pomegranate salad, vegetable pinzimonio, red lentils and green apple.
5 - Simple cooking
Give priority to simple cooking that doesn't weigh the dishes down too much, without using too much fat: top with sauces, butter, cream and béchamel. Try to balance: if you prepare a first course with cream, do not use butter to sauté the vegetables.
6 - The encore?
The tables will already be full of courses, so it is better to make small portions, but more dishes: in this way you will taste a little bit of everything and you will avoid excessive calories.
7 - Far away bread
During dinners and lunches, avoid over-eating bread and breadsticks between courses. Rather get up and have a chat with your uncle who is sitting at the back of the table!
8 - To drink?
Avoid carbonated drinks, drink plenty of water and enjoy a toast with 1-2 glasses of wine.
9 - Dulcis in fundo
Pandoro and panettone must be the protagonists. When choosing, don't be fooled by offers at the supermarket and don't start buying it a month in advance. Choose it well, artisan and not industrial, in an excellent pastry shop that uses selected ingredients for its desserts, classic and traditional rather than in variants covered with chocolate or stuffed with apricots and dates or alcohol.
10 - Hurry up
Once lunch is over, do not lie down immediately afterwards, but treat yourself to a nice digestive walk. Also try to stay active at Christmas time: the fact that the gym is closed is no excuse!
May it be a peaceful Christmas!
Dr. Francesca Oggionni Dietici