Beat the Christmas Bulge

I’ve been planning my Christmas food this last week – and having concerns over how much high-calorie food there will be in the house which may prove disastrous to my weight management goals.  However, in the interests of preventing the average weight gain of 2kg (or 5lbs in old money), I’ve put together a list of my top tips to help bolster your intentions.

  1. Use smaller plates – studies have found that eating from a smaller plate makes us feel more satisfied than the same amount on a larger one.  Coming from a generation of children who were taught to clean the plate otherwise there would be no pudding, I’m very used to getting through everything on the plate I’m given.
  2. Don’t pile things high – especially when there is a buffet!  I’m guilty of piling things high on occasion – and mostly it is because I didn’t look at all the things available when I’m serving myself – so completely misjudging how much space there is on the plate and how many dishes there are to try out.  Start small, then go back for seconds if there are any left… (or you can do what some people do and have a good look at everything on display before joining the queue so you know what you want to save some space for).
  3. Plan ahead – try to plan in some lighter meals amongst the overly rich meals that may be on offer this season.  I’ve got some hot winter salads planned around the necessary ham, goose and beef days…  (I’m also thinking about doing some Gazpacho – my version is effectively an intense salad puree which I seem to crave to offset all the fat and starch around this time of year).
  4. Exercise – if all else fails, find some high-intensity workouts (at your appropriate fitness level of course) to offset the intake.  I am fond of kickboxing workouts as they seem to work well for me, but there is an interesting trend of 1000 calorie workouts – here’s one on youtube which I might try – which would make you feel all saintly again!
  5. Watch the booze – empty calories and hangovers!  I tend to volunteer to be the driver so I don’t look like a wimp because I don’t want to drink very much – I resent the wasted calories and get horrendous hangovers these days so feel rubbish the entire next day.  I also think that when I’m not allowed very much (perhaps one glass with lunch) I enjoy it more.
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Blog Find: The Moodie Foodie

I read and follow a lot of food blogs – and use Feedly to keep them all in one place on my iPad.  I was catching up on my reading today and clicked through to a recommendation for Jay from The Moodie Foodie and read a few of her posts.  I’ve linked some of the posts which caught my eye below:

Articles:

Recipes:

I’ve added her now to my Feedly subscriptions and am going to experiment with some of her recommendations – and of course report back here on my findings…

Kitchen Kit: The Oil Cloth Apron


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Images from the justwipe.co.uk website

One of the most useful tools around the kitchen is an apron – I’m sure I don’t need to explain why!  However, in recent years the oil cloth version, my preferred type, has apparently become really unpopular as it has become nearly impossible to find.   Every single one I see in shops is the basic fabric type which I don’t like at all.

The oil cloth apron is better (in my opinion) than the basic fabric type for three main reasons:

  1. It protects your clothes more – splashes from the hob/food processor/hand blender/sink don’t go through an oil cloth apron, whereas a strong splash will go through a fabric one and end up on your clothes underneath.
  2. It is far easier to clean – take a wet cloth and wipe it down.  It doesn’t need to go in the wash and it doesn’t stain (unless you have an old one with cracks where the fabric is unprotected – those cracks will stain).
  3. It doesn’t need ironing as it never goes through the wash!

The only real downside to them are that they do age – the oil cloth finish will wear thin anywhere where you habitually crease it (so don’t sit at the table in it) and the creases do eventually turn into cracks.  However, they probably last longer than fabric ones in terms of staining.  I love to cook with tomatoes and turmeric (not necessarily at the same time), the two worst staining offenders of all time.  So this is is a major consideration for me – it might not bother you if you tend not to cook with ingredients that stain.

In recent years, I’ve only found them in two places – either in tourist shops (with the requisite novelty patterns) or online.  One great place which I’ve repeatedly ordered from is www.justwipe.co.uk.  They offer a bundle of 10 for £50 or you can choose your preferred pattern for £9.99 each – with a range of patterns, including plain and seasonal patterns as well as patterns resembling ones from famous designers such as Orla Keily and Cath Kidston, there should be something you like.  Every few years I buy the bundle of 10, pick my favourite from the random selection they send to replace one of my worn ones (I have 3 on the go at a time – so there is one for every person who might be cooking at one time), and distribute the rest as Christmas gifts to people I know who like them – at £5 per apron, that’s a real bargain gift!


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Image from the justwipe.co.uk website