The nights may be long and the days cold but there are the joys of Christmas to look forward to... one of which is eating and drinking with friends and family.
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The trouble is, with so many office parties, festive get-togethers with friends, and family lunches to cram in over the holiday period, unless you're an abstemious monk your calorie intake is going to increase. And that increase may not be balanced out by a similar increase in your riding.
The result? The sort of fleshy weight gain that eclipses the weight loss from the fancy lightweight components that Santa left for you under the tree.
That's not to say you shouldn't enjoy yourself, though. Christmas is, after all, a time for letting go of the reigns — albeit responsibly. So if you're going to be riding less but want to minimise the chances of piling on too many extra pounds, it pays to be aware of what you're scoffing and how your eating habits change during this period.
One of the easiest ways of overeating during the holidays is snacking at parties. Watch out for those tiny bite-sized sausage rolls or creamy dips. Nuts, generally, are a fabulous food, but not if you're standing by a bowl of salted peanuts and shovelling handfuls of them into your mouth!
A traditional meal of turkey with all the trimmings and plenty of vegetables can fill you up without overloading your intake. The trouble is, most folk rarely stop there and it's the puddings, mince pies and extra treats afterwards that can really up the calorie count.
If you have trouble resisting the temptation, ready-to-eat dates are a good alternative to chocolates, while satsumas, tangerines and fruit salad can stand in for heavy puddings.
Also, crack open your own walnuts and almonds — they can be quite a challenge to break, which helps slow down your rate of consumption!
The other option, of course, is to gorge yourself with abandon and, provided you can get out and ride as much as you want/need to, just head out and burn those extra calories off.
The following tables contain lists of common Christmassy foods, their calorie count and the amount of time you'd have to spend cycling at 10mph on a flat road to burn them off.
|Greek yoghurt (2 teaspoons)||85||14|
|Fresh fruit salad (large portion)||120||20|
|4 squares filled mint chocolate||140||23|
|Brandy butter (heaped tsp)||140||23|
|Whipped double cream (3tsp)||160||27|
|1 deep filled mince pie||210||35|
|1 small slice fruit cake (no icing)||240||40|
|Christmas pudding (small portion)||300||50|
|6 chocolate covered Brazil nuts||330||55|
|1 small slice fruit cake & icing||420||70|
Savoury party snacks
|Salsa (spicy tomato) dip||10||2|
|9 small, green or black olives||30||5|
|1 bite sized pizza square||30||5|
|Creamy dip (per scoop)||40||7|
|1 small sausage roll (bite size)||60||10|
|5 tortilla chips||80||13|
|3 cocktail sausages||120||20|
|1 small chicken vol au vent||130||22|
|3 handfuls crisps||150||25|
|1 small handful salted peanuts||170||28|