Lowering Calories

Winter is coming. Not in the Game-of-Thrones-my-dire-wolf-is-going-to-eat-you sense, but the whole Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas festivities are peeping around the corner. And with those connotations of jolly elves and bowls full of jelly, now is not the time to give into your favourite frivolous winter warmers.

While this guide is all about avoiding high-calorie foods, we will try to show you some of our lower-calorie options that won’t leave you searching for the cookie jar. We don’t know about you, but if October is the start of mince pies and mulled wine, then you can kiss goodbye to being kissed under the mistletoe at this year’s office Christmas party. So let’s take a look at some healthy, but still delicious alternatives to some of our winter favourites without having to worry about adjusting those belt notches this season.

Four For You, Glen Coco

You get a free candy cane? Well, that’s all well and good but what about limiting your intake of sugar? Recently, there has been a surge in the amount of low-fat products on our supermarket shelves. And this is what we’re not told; that to make certain foods still tasty and edible, the lack of fat is replaced by a mountain of sugar. Out first tip is simple enough:

Read Food Labels

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If you’re opting for a low/non-fat option, whether it’s yoghurt or ice cream, then you’re already thinking ahead, Mr. Smartypants. But, as we’ve said, take a quick glance at the product information to make sure that the manufacturers aren’t substituting fat for sugar. There is an array of tasty products out there filled with spice and all things nice, but without the added sugar.


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This year sees the arrival of a new Starbucks drink. The ever-popular coffee company has unleashed the Chestnut Praline Latte. We’re not discouraging you from enjoying a good ol’ cup of joe by no means, or spreading conspicuous propaganda, but we do think that even our coffee should be considered. We know what you’re thinking: now I have to think about what’s in my drink? Well, actually, yes! With the arrival of such drinks comes the arrival of calories.

Although the newcomer has approximately 50 fewer calories than its Pumpkin-spiced cousin, a grande still comes in at 330 calories. So we have three tips for you: a) Order a tall, b) Order a skinny, or c) Buy a thermos and make your own. This way, you can still enjoy a delicious caffeine-injected beverage without going totally calorie crazy. And if that doesn’t put things into perspective, I usually burn 330 calories on average at Spinning (45 minutes) – that’s a long time to spend on a drink you’ll only enjoy for about 5 minutes.

Soup For The Soul; And The Waistline

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Soup is a great and easy meal to make and eat during the busy winter months. So why not make it yourself in preparation for the long, dark nights? That way, you won’t have to venture to your local supermarket in order to get your hands on a pot of mulligatawny – you’ll have it nestled away in your freezer already. Here’s our favourite winter warmer recipe: tomato soup with bulgur wheat. This bulky soup is perfect for winter, does not require bread for dunking, and is ready to beat away Jack Frost at a moment’s notice.


Passata, 400g can

2 medium onions

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 garlic cloves

½ cup (coarse) bulgur wheat

Chopped mint, 2 tbsps


  1. Sweat the onions down for 10 minutes before adding the garlic.
  2. Add the passata and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, bulgur wheat and mint. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.

A Sip Of Wine – It’s Wintertime

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If wine is your tipple of choice, please go straight to Number 5, and collect £200 as you pass Go. But if you can live without it, then why not try your hand at a spirit this winter? Typically, spirits, such as gin and vodka, have fewer calories in them than sugar-filled, sulphite-packed wine (as wine lovers, this pains us to write). So why not opt for a G&T with low-calorie tonic water? And here’s the crux to delivering delicious flavours: pick a spirit that has all your favourite flavours, and blend this with the tonic to give you a delicious and refreshing drink at the end of the day; or in the morning if you’re on holiday. Whether this is adding juniper berries to your gin or finding a fruit-infused vodka. Chin! Chin!

Holier Than Thou

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Finally, fashion and food; this one isn’t a secret. It’s probably the one your Mother or nosy neighbour recites to you every time you mention food: moderation. But, we have to agree with Gladys and Daphne; there’s no need to completely avoid your favourites. Simply have 1 glass of wine per night, or replace white carbs with brown/wholemeal ones. Trust us (they say in the same breath as carbs), you’ll thank yourself when you have the said treat; otherwise it won’t be a treat when you end up eating it, will it? (No, it won’t, Madre). But what’s more, there is no reason to get obsessive about numbers either. Green: Go. Simple enough. But don’t rely on the numbers flashing on the scales. Why not find an outfit i.e. a suit, and try it on occasionally to make sure that it still fits and that you’re happy in it.

All The Trimmings

This guide (and that’s all it is, not a rule book) has hopefully given you some tips on how to lower your calories in the lead up to Christmas. Because, let’s face it; we all indulge over the festive season, but this doesn’t have to start before Hallowe’en. It’s not about diets, in fact this is the first and last time the “D-word” has been used, but being careful about what we eat while still enjoying a balanced lifestyle.