Time to shape up for party season? Nutritionist Lily Soutter shows you how to drop a dress size or two...
With festive feasting only weeks away, there’s still time to lose a few pounds. If you start now, you can lose anything from 7-10lbs on our exclusive diet plan, which has been devised by nutritionist Lily Soutter (lilysoutternutrition.com).
“Depending on how much you want to lose, you can do the plan for one or two weeks,” says Lily.
“You can also use it to help negate any festive binges after Christmas. Focus on the way you’re eating as well,” adds Lily. “If you’re rushing around, try to eat your food more slowly. When you eat too fast, you don’t produce the necessary digestive enzymes, so food isn’t digested properly and this leads to bloating. Watch stress levels, too. Stress hormones interfere with digestion, making it more difficult to lose weight. Make time to relax. You’ll feel calmer and your waistline will reap the rewards, too!”
Your Christmas Countdown Menu Plan:
Week 1, Day 1
Breakfast: Overnight Almond and Strawberry Oats:
Mix 30g rolled oats with 250ml almond milk and 15g chia seeds. Refrigerate overnight. Serve topped with sliced strawberries and drizzled with 1tbsp almond butter.
Lunch: Vegetable and Bean Soup: Fry onion, celery, carrots, broccoli and spinach in olive oil. Add veg stock and simmer. Blend. Add 100g butter beans.
Dinner: Dover Sole with Pak Choi and Spinach: Grill 1 fillet Dover sole. Drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with some steamed pak choi and spinach.
Breakfast: Sweet Potato Toast with Smoked Salmon:
Slice 1 sweet potato lengthways. Toast and top with avocado and 2 slices smoked salmon.
Lunch: Roasted Cauli-Broc Bowl:
In a bowl, layer cooked quinoa, sliced beetroot, spinach leaves, roasted cauliflower and broccoli florets, plus chopped walnuts. For dressing, blend 1tbsp tahini with 1tbsp houmous and lemon juice.
Dinner: Spicy Salmon with Asparagus and Red Cabbage:
Pan-fry 1 fillet of salmon in coconut oil. Mix 1/2tsp paprika with 50g Greek yogurt. Top the salmon with the paprika yogurt and serve with asparagus and sliced red cabbage.
Breakfast: Eggs with Mushrooms and Spinach:
Pan-fry 2 eggs and 2 Portobello mushrooms. Serve with some wilted spinach.
Lunch: Sesame Chicken with Brown Rice:
Grill 1 chicken breast. Serve with brown rice and green beans. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
Dinner: Plaice with Leeks and Tenderstem Broccoli:
Grill 1 large plaice fillet, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper. Serve with leeks (pan-fried with garlic in coconut oil) and steamed tenderstem broccoli.
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Pesto:
Scramble 2 eggs. Serve topped with a dollop of pesto and tomato.
Lunch: Beetroot and Feta Salad:
Mix diced beetroot, spinach leaves, 30g feta, chickpeas, spring onion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
Dinner: Courgetti Turkey Bolognese:
Saute onions and garlic. Add 125g minced turkey. Cook until brown. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, chopped carrot, mushrooms, water and dried oregano. Simmer. Serve with spiralised courgette, steamed pak choi and spinach.
Breakfast: Crunchy Berry Yogurt Pot:
Top 150g Greek yogurt with a handful mixed berries and 1tbsp pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Lunch: Veg and Chicken Soup: Place onions, carrots, sweet potato, squash, celery, beetroot and 300ml chicken stock in a pan. Simmer and blend. Add cooked chicken pieces and herbs. Sprinkle with mixed seeds.
Dinner: Baked Halibut with Spinach and Basil: Season 1 halibut fillet. Top with fresh thyme and orange slices. Bake. Serve with spinach and basil sauteed in coconut oil.
Days 6 & 7
Repeat any two days.
Eat lean meats, fish, vegetables, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, berries and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil.
Avoid caffeine and processed foods.
Drink water and herbal teas, such as lemon and ginger, and peppermint.
Fill half your plat with veg: vegetables are low in calories, but high in nutrients, so will keep you feeling full.
Give food a twist with festive spices like cumin, ginger and nutmeg.
Snacks: 5 walnuts; 1 satsuma; a palm-size of seeds; 1tbsp houmous or 1tbsp guacamole with raw vegetable sticks; or 2tbsp Greek yogurt with 1tbsp mixed seeds and berries.
Want a drink? Choose a clear spirit with fizzy water and fresh lemon/lime.
Avoid socialising on an empty stomach: have a snack beforehand. This will stop you bingeing later.
Write a food diary: a study has shown that it can double weight loss.
Eat mindfully: savour flavours to register that enough is enough.
Walk: even 20-30 mins at lunchtime will boost your metabolism.
Don’t scrimp on sleep: lack of sleep increases appetite.