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Paula Mee - Partying through the festive season healthily.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

You don't have to deny yourself some tasty treats during the Christmas build-up but it pays to be aware of what you're eating.

Paula Mee
BSc., Dip Dietetics., MSc in Health Sciences., Dip Allergy, M.I.N.D.I.

Nutrition Consulting

From Galway, Paula graduated from University College Galway with a BSc in Biochemistry. She then completed her postgraduate qualifications in Dietetics and a Masters in Health Science in
Leeds Metropolitan University. Paula has recently been awarded a Diploma in Allergy from Southampton University. She has also completed the British Dietetic Association's Sports Dietitian course. She is a current member and a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting was set up in 2004 and offers organisations and industry an extensive range of services in nutrition, product development, and marketing communications.
As part of her working week she also operates a dietetic and weight management clinic in the Southside Physiotherapy Clinic, Foxrock, Co Dublin, 01 2104763.

Prior to this, Paula was the Nutrition Manager for Superquinn. Previously she worked as senior nutritionist in the National Dairy Council. She has also practiced as a dietitian in hospitals in Northern Ireland.

Paula is currently on the board of Consumer Foods in Bord Bia. Paula is one of the presenters of RTE TV's Health Squad programme. She makes regular appearances on TV and radio programmes advising on nutrition and health issues.
For further information please contact Paula at:

"Partying through the season without becoming unhealthy"

It's the festive season....
There's not a lot you can do to influence what's on offer at someone else's do. However, there's plenty you can do to stop it turning into a feeding frenzy!

Paula's Party Tips:
. If there's going to be a buffet, have something small before you go. Try a cup of vegetable soup an hour before you leave or eat two or three satsumas in the car on the way there from work to take the edge off your hunger.
. Drink some water before you pick up a plate at all, especially if you've been cooped up in an over-heated office all day.
. Some people save half their lunchtime sandwich and eat it at 5pm. Think of something that will work for you and that can stop you staggering to the buffet table light-headed with hunger.
. Go for colour first and fill up half your plate with low-cal foods such as chopped carrots, cucumbers, celery, red grapes, black olives and cherry tomatoes, then into one quarter of your plate select some filling protein-rich food that isn't battered or fried - chicken drumsticks (with the skin removed), cold turkey or prawns. In the remaining quarter of your plate have some carbohydrate if you like - cous cous, pasta salad etc.
. If you opt for a bread sandwich, don't have more than four quarters - a normal sandwich. Go for wholegrain or nutty bread, with fillings such as tuna and cucumber, turkey and cranberry or smoked salmon and salad.
. Avoid sausage rolls, quiche, garlic bread and spring roll or anything you can pick at incessantly especially if you are nervous about socializing, such as roasted salted nuts, crisps and dips or that port and stilton display!

Three ways to burn off some of that party food..
. Last minute shopping dash - 60 minute briskly walking (in your flats) looking for the right shade of purple shoes: 240 calories!
. Dancing (athletically or vigorously!) at the Christmas party for two hours: 550 calories!
. An hour of ice skating when you've recovered (assuming you can ice skate!): 525 calories!

How not to overeat... The snacks
It's that time of the year again. Are you ready to confidently face that mountain of mince pies, tasty party nibbles, tins of chocolates sweets and selection boxes at the office party and say NO!!!

If 'NO THANKS' is not an expression you use a lot, you can still save a good deal of calories with a few clever swaps.

. Pretzels are hard to overeat. They are some of self limiting. It's much easier to keep eating salty flavoured crisps.
. If you fancy a dip in the chocolate tin, don't forget all those individual sweets add up.. Leave all the empty wrappers where you can see them just in case of amnesia! After you have taken a few, put the tin out of site! Leave a nice bowl of easy peel clementines or satsumas or grapes in view instead in the TV room.
. The hard cheeses usually have less water and more fat and calories per 100g so go 'soft' this Christmas with small portions of brie instead. Try having apple or grape instead of high fat crackers with your cheese.
. You don't have to be tee-total over Christmas but try a few tricks to cut calories (and reduce your hangover, too). Drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink - it really helps to reduce your hangover and weight gain.
. When you're standing at the bar - Swap a handful of roasted salted peanuts (180 calories) for a handful of olives (68 calories).
. Steer clear of creamy liquors, such as 180 calories and 8g fat per glass - stick to champagne (111 calories, 0g fat per glass).
. Finally, stick to just one glass of mulled wine - 245 calories per glass (more than a whole bar of chocolate). Better yet have a small port instead - 78 calories.