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We Wish You Healthy Holidays!

Read the startling statistics: we take in twice the normal calories over the holidays, while getting even more flabby and sedentary than usual. After all, Christmas is about taking it easy, right? A bit of cake for breakfast, some sweet snack between meals, then the dreadful new year’s resolutions, swearing an oath to shed the extra pounds by Twelfth Night.

Based on Dr. Rose's dietitian, Nóra Galló's advice, here are some smart ideas to change the bad routine this year.

Fish soup: Try swapping lard for coconut oil, which is easier to digest and light in cholesterol. A bit of pungency won’t hurt but go easy on the hot paprika, it is bad for your stomach in the long run. Serve the soup with wholesome whole-wheat bread this time.

Stuffed cabbage: This Hungarian Christmas staple is hard on your gall bladder. Whatever someone’s mother-in-law says, it is just as delicious with lean meat (minced turkey or a mixture of lean beef and premium pork). Also brown rice, brown basmati, millet, pearl barley, or best of all the nutty tasting buckwheat are perfect substitutes for high GI plain rice.

Battered fish: If you crave the traditional taste, you might as well chuck the breaded slices in the oven with a sprinkle of high smoke-point grape-seed oil, or pan fry in coconut oil. Use oat flour or whole-wheat for the batter if you must. Still better to grill or broil the fish. Go for seafood if you can, such as wild salmon, tuna, cod, herring or mackerel, with a high dose of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. HOT TIP: You cannot go wrong with a garlic, lemon, sea salt and olive oil marinade. Stick a branch of fresh rosemary inside the fish and stuff in a few wedges of organic lemon with the rind on for that ultimate Mediterranean seafood fare.

Side dish: Serve up a fragrant dish of oven-baked veggies instead of traditional side dishes, chucking baby carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, beetroot, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms in the tray with herbs and olive oil. For gratinated veggies, use low fat cheese and yoghurt instead of cream, going easy on the calories. Cut back on the unholy trinity of pasta, rice and spuds – bulgur wheat, quinoa, millet and buckwheat are tasty and healthy alternatives. They contain plenty of fibre, which makes them more filling, just make sure there is something to drink along with the meal. HOT TIP: Whip up a salad of roast walnuts, pomegranate and quinoa.

Gingerbread and poppy seed roll variations: It is all in the flour! Ditch the fine white one and use whole-wheat oat, spelt or rye flour, packing in more fibre to boost digestion. Jazz up the cakes and cookies with some porridge oats and frozen fruit. Stevia, xylitol, erythritol and co. are good alternatives to refined sugar. Walnut and poppy seed have fantastic nutritional values, just make sure you don’t spoil it with tons of nasty carbs. HOT TIP: Thin slices taste even better than thick ones and you can reach for second servings without the guilt factor. Are you a guest at the dinner table? Politely take just ONE slice from the dessert tray. And never have leftover cakes for second breakfast, elevenses, post-lunch munch, afternoon tea, etc.

Festive drinks: Heavy on the Christmas taste, easy on calories – that should be your motto. You can whip up fruity infusions in minutes. Try apple and cinnamon, orange and cloves, or ginger and cardamom. For some well-deserved adult time, go with a moderate serving of fine, dry, red wine, extra dry champagne, or treat yourself to some hoppy craft ale or porter. Bear in mind that alcohol is high in calories to begin with (7 kcal/g), and sweet beverages are loaded with extra sugar.

Let's start the New Year together!

Please feel free to contact Nóra Galló, a dietitian of Dr. Rose Private Hospital, and contact us for a personalized diet.

Dr. Rose Private Hospital