Call for restraint at Christmas dinner table

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OVER-INDULGING at Christmas does not have to be unhealthy, according to advice from Wigan health chiefs.

While the majority of families will be looking forward to getting stuck into their turkey and mince pies, a few simple tips could make a big difference to the size of waistlines come the new year.

Dr Kate Ardern, Executive Director of Public Health for Wigan borough, said that while she wasn’t expecting folk just to munch on celery sticks throughout the festive season today called for a modicum of restraint at the dinner table this year.

She said: “Christmas is a time when there are lots of treats and sweets around to tempt us and although it is important to enjoy yourself, it is also important to have things in moderation.

“A healthy diet includes lots of fruit and vegetables and by having sweets and confectionary less often and in smaller amounts we can also prevent decay and gum disease.

“It is a good idea to try to keep control of your weight over Christmas and there is lots of support available to help everyone eat well and keep active over the festive season and into the new year.”

According to figures from the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust, it is estimated that 25.8 per cent of the borough’s adult population are obese.

On average, individuals put on two kilogrammes over the festive season and can consume up to 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone, the NHS figures claim.

Health chiefs say that following these five simple tips will help reduce the Christmas dinner calories and keep those waistlines in check.

l Start the day with a healthy breakfast and do not over indulge too early. Try a wholegrain cereal topped with fruit to help you feel full for longer.

l Snack on festive fruit instead of chocolates and sweets. Satsumas and a great source of vitamins and are always at hand at this time of year.

l Turkey is a great source of protein but if you eat the skin you will be adding lots more fat and calories.

l Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and the craving for unhealthy snacks.

l Stock up on vegetables as they are low in fat and calories but do not smother them in butter.

Dr Ardern also advised that there is no substitute for exercise when it comes to a healthy lifestyles.

She said: “Wigan borough has a huge range of activities on offer for you to burn off those calories, so this festive season could see the start of a whole new you.”

For more information on healthy lifestyles and exercise activities visit www.getactivewiganandleigh.co.uk