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Saturday, 10 December 2011

It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas!

10th December 2011

A healthy attitude to eating and drinking is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

Countdown to Christmas tip – Planning is key. If you've got lots of festive meals out planned, plan ahead and stay in control by looking up the menu online and then using Find & Explore on Weight Watchers esource, your shop or eat out guide or use your ProPoints calculator to check the ProPoints values.

Well I’m ready for the weekend – sort of!  Physically I am anyway, I’ve had ten hours sleep which if you know I tend to get up at 5am means I was, wait for it – in bed before 7pm, yep a whole ten minutes before.  I had the perfect day yesterday once I’d done my paperwork, I went for a full body holistic massage at the Chi Rooms in Essington (that woman has magic fingers! And it was my first in months so even better) followed by lunch with Lynne and Jo and we had such a giggle.  We went to the Spread Eagle on Broad Lane South, food was average to good nothing amazing but reasonably priced and it’s a nice comfortable pub.  Hark at me, I sound like a food critic!  I was so not on a diet yesterday, but my excuse was I’m still in credit from my holiday because I didn’t gain any weight, a full 3 courses and a baileys Irish coffee which now I’ve sampled I’d advice you give it a miss, it’s nice but is over very quickly and wouldn’t have been worth the ProPoints, how many pp’s mmm let me think double bailey’s (5pp) with squirty cream (5pp) – ouch 10pp for something that lasted a couple of minutes because it would have come cold if I’d drunk it slowly!

So if you’re thinking of drinking, you can enjoy a festive tipple and still stay on track with your weight loss.  Real life means that sometimes you fancy a drink or two and because the ProPoints plan fits in perfectly with real life, the good news is you can. The key, as with everything, is moderation and keeping track of your budget.

Wise choices will make your ProPoints budget go that much further. There are various methods you can use to keep your drinks under control this Christmas, which means you don't have to choose between total abstinence or losing control of your weight loss. Here are some tried and tested favourites:

·         You will tend to have fewer drinks if you have long drinks. In fact, you can save ProPoints values by choosing spirits or liqueurs and asking for them in a tall glass with diet mixers and extra ice.

·         You can make a glass of wine last twice as long by turning it into a sparkling drink with some sparkling mineral or soda water added. (personally I’d rather drink slower if it’s a good wine, but bar wine rarely is good wine so soda improves the taste!)

·         Pace yourself by alternating each alcoholic drink with a soft drink or water. You'll save ProPoints values and it could help you to avoid a hangover the next day. (why not have a jug of water on the table and save the morning hangover too!)

·         Use the handy cocktail cheat sheet on WW website to compare and contrast the ProPoints values of different drinks so you can select your tipple before you hit the cocktail bar.  Or make the drinks in Decembers copy of YOUR WEEK.

·         Remember you've got your weekly allowance to spend on exactly you want - and yes, that can mean wine!

·         If you're hosting your own Christmas party, serve up some ProPoints value-friendly options. How about mulled wine or a strawberry bellini (recipes below). Use Find & Explore (on WW website) to search for plenty of other ideas too.

·         Don't bow to peer pressure if everyone else seems to be drinking. If you put ice and a slice of lemon into your mineral water it will look like a gin and tonic anyway.

·         If you do drink more than you planned, just get back on track and in control of your budget the next day. Earn some activity ProPoints values, to compensate for any extra you spent on drinks.

·         In a party situation where pub measures aren't being served, it can be much harder to keep track of what you've had. Don't let anyone refill your glass until it's completely empty.

·         If you are going to a party, take a bottle of mineral water or diet soft drink with you, so you aren't just relying on what is being served when you get there. Not everyone will have diet drinks on offer, so be prepared.

·         If you want to limit the number of outings and opportunities where you'll be drinking alcohol, volunteer to be the designated driver.

Well there’s some advice – whether you take it, only you can decide.  I’m off for a weekend of mayhem with my besties so I’ll let you now how I faired with my own advice!  Below are the recipes for Bellini’s and Mulled Wine.

Strawberry Bellini (we had bellini’s in New York – scrumptious!)
ProPoints® Value: 3, Servings: 8, Preparation Time: 10 min
400 g Strawberries, stalks removed (why not try tinned or frozen if fresh are expensive)
2 tablespoons Artificial Sweetener, powdered, optional
750 ml Champagne, or Cava, (1 bottle) chilled

·       Reserve 8 strawberries for decoration if you wanna be fancy. Blend the remainder in a food processor or blender, or use a hand-held blender to give a smooth puree. Strain the strawberry liquid through a fine sieve to remove the pips. Add the sweetener, if using, then chill until icy cold.
·       When ready to serve, share the chilled strawberry mixture between 8 Champagne flutes. Partially slice through the reserved strawberries, so that they sit on the rim of each glass, then top up with chilled Champagne or Cava.
·       Serve immediately. Cheers!

Mulled Wine
ProPoints® Value: 3, Servings: 10, Preparation Time: 5 min

300 ml Water, (1/2 pint)
425 ml Grape Juice, (3/4 pint) unsweetened red
2 tablespoons Sugar, Muscovado, dark or light

1 teaspoons (grated) Ginger, Root, fresh (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
4 individual Cloves, Whole or Ground
2 teaspoons Cinnamon, (2 sticks)

Or you can buy sachets with the mixture already prepared from the spice section in supermarkets.

1 medium Lemon, sliced
700 ml Wine, Red, 1.25 pints

·       Put water, grape juice, sugar, ginger, cloves and cinnamon sticks into a very large saucepan. Heat gently until just below boiling point. Add wine and reheat gently. Do not allow mixture to get too hot.
·       Pour into a punch bowl or jug and serve hot.

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