How do you watch your weight this Christmas without missing out on the fun? It’s the challenge we face every festive season. Diets that ban alcohol are a total turn-off in December – and not very practical as it’s the most sociable month of the year.
Yet ladies (and gents), you can have that glass of prosecco without feeling guilty. So how can the fizzy stuff be part of a successful weight-loss plan?
Nutritionist, Emma Brown explains: “It’s absolutely possible. A 125ml flute of prosecco has just 93 calories per glass. It’s most definitely a treat you can include in your diet, as long as you remember that alcohol calories count just as much as food calories.
“There’s no need to ban alcohol. Allowing yourself to indulge occasionally* can be positive; we know that it’s easier to stick to a diet when our favourite treats are included, and that very much includes prosecco. It’s taken the UK by storm and will be the drink of choice for many this Christmas.
“When it comes to food, it’s more important to eat right than to eat less, so focus on choices that provide long-lasting energy and fill you up. Choosing nutrient-dense foods totalling around 1,400 calories a day – and staying within this limit – allows you to treat yourself to a glass of prosecco at the end of the day without feeling guilty.
The drink’s ever-increasing popularity is partly due to the fact that many of the prosecco brands now rival champagne in taste, yet at a much more affordable price.
Emma says: “Champagne was too luxurious and expensive for a weekly treat, and Cava was very much the cheap substitute – until prosecco came along, and pitched itself as a feel-good, more premium alternative. This hit the spot with UK consumers as they get the ‘bubbles’, which are associated with luxury, yet at a good price point.
“The relatively low number of calories in prosecco make it one of the more diet-friendly alcoholic drinks. ‘Brut prosecco’ has an even lower sugar content and thus a lower calorie-count.
“In essence, the simpler the drink, the better when it comes to calories. Sweet, creamy cocktails tend to be very calorific, and the additional sugar can make you even hungrier: your blood sugar skyrockets higher than it does on wine, making the inevitable dip (and the resulting cravings) worse.
“Before heading out to Christmas parties, have a snack with protein, fibre, and healthy fats to stabilise your blood-sugar levels without slowing down your metabolism. Feeling fuller to start with should help to cut down on unnecessary snacking too after a few drinks.
“Try a small pot of Greek yogurt with berries; peanut butter on toast with an apple, or a protein shake. By grabbing a bite beforehand, the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream, minimizing its diet-damaging effects.”
Emma has put together a week of meal ideas to keep you full, and allow you enough spare calories for a treat, such as a glass of prosecco, at the end of the day. Try to vary your daily treat, and allow yourself two alcohol-free days a week.
For further diet and healthy eating advice please visit: www.nutracheck.co.uk
*Please drink responsibly. UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that women and men do not regularly exceed 2-3 units daily (and 14 over a week). Avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive.