Prepare for the party season
As the long winter evenings draw in, we inevitably find ourselves staying in more often to enjoy our favourite TV shows and snacking on our favourite comfort foods….and although it’s easy to become complacent and let the winter pounds pile on, why not follow a few easy steps that will ensure you enjoy the run up to Christmas but are still in great shape for the party season?
We’ve teamed up with Dr Evelyn Hannon, nutritionist for LowLow*Cheese, to put together some top tips to help us prepare forthe party season, meaning that your fabulous Christmas party dress will still look great right through to the New Year.
Recipe Makeovers.A few subtle changes to your favourite recipes can make a big difference to your health. Swap full fat cheeses for great tasting lower fat options such as LowLow. Reduce or leave out salt in recipes and try flavouring with pepper, herbs or spices instead. Buy leaner cuts of meat & trim visible fat from meat. Remove skin from chicken. Grill, bake or steam rather than fry and if you must fry use healthier oils such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed rather than butter. Give sandwiches a makeover by using low fat spread, light mayonnaise or wholegrain bread.
Eat. Avoid the idea of ‘saving space’ for the parties you’ll be attending in the evenings and eating very little all day. Having a proper breakfast and lunch and a healthy snack (fruit, yoghurt, sandwich) before you go means that you will be far less likely to overindulge once you get there.
Don’t Drink your Calories. That Gingerbread latte, mocha or cappuccino on the way to work on a cold winter morning can contain up to 300 calories and 15g of fat which is over 20% of your daily recommended fat intake. Ask for low fat or fat free milk in your latte, choose smaller portions, avoid the extras such as cream and syrup orexperiment by opting forherbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, green or chai.
Alcohol. Apart from the fact that after a few drinks you often don’t care what you eat, remember that alcohol contains calories too! Alternating alcoholic drinks with water, mixing wine with mineral water and choosing sugar free mixers for shorts will all cut back on those calories.
Choose wisely, but indulge moderately.The run up to Christmas means there are often tempting boxes of mince pies or chocolates lying around the office and at home. Don’t try to deny yourselfall the Christmas treats. Just be selective and take a little of the things you really enjoy. Take a few sweets from the chocolate box and put them into a bowl rather than sitting down to your favourite Christmas movie with an open box of chocolates.
If you’re entertaining at home, how about swapping your regular dips for LowLow mature cheddar Spread?
Portion size.It is important not to deny ourselves all the foods that we love during the festivities, but just remember portion size is the key. Planning ahead will ensure you don’t eat something for the sake of it, instead choose a few of the things that you really love and enjoy a few small portions of these foods throughout the Christmas season. If you love Christmas pudding, be sure to have it, but take a small slice and don’t go back for seconds!
Out of sight, out of mind. Put food away, freeze suitable foods (e.g. left-over mince pies) or distribute leftovers among your guests. Deck the halls with bowls of fruit, nuts and dried fruit mixes, instead of leaving open biscuit tins and boxes of chocolates around the house.
Exercise. Try to prioritise your normal exercise routines, but if that’s not possible try to fit in some exercise in other ways. Catch up with some friends for long walks and get up and dance at the Christmas party. Walk into town to do that Christmas shopping or get off the bus a few stops early.
LowLow launches ‘Toasties’, a delicious cheesy slice full of taste but with the benefit of a 1/3 less fat than full fat slices.
Whether you’re rustling up a quick bite after work or fancy something filling and tasty at the weekend, LowLow’s individually wrapped cheesy slices are a versatile essential for your fridge. Snuggled between two slices of toast, in a wrap, or on an open slice, they can be used to create a delicious snack for any occasion:
Weekend Breakfast Toastie
Why not treat yourself to a simple but delicious Panini for weekend brunch? Add bacon, chutney, and a LowLow Toastie for the perfect mid-morning bite.
Night in with the girls
Impress friends with a sophisticated but deceivingly easy ham and apple open toastie served with grainy mustard and LowLow, on hand cut slices of granary bread. Quick snack after work
Take the sting out of having to stay late at the office by enjoying Sunday’s leftover chicken breast, pesto and LowLow in a toasted wholemeal wrap when you get back home.
Satisfy midnight food cravings after an unexpected girls’ night out by grabbing your favourite veggies out of the fridge, mixing in some herbs and adding a LowLow Toastie slice into a pitta for a tasty and healthier alternative to a kebab.
LowLow Toasties are available in Asda and Morrison’s priced at £1.38 for 10 slices. Toasties are the latest in the great tasting LowLow range which also includes block, grated, burger slices and cheddar spreads…all with a 1/3 less fat!
Lazy Weekend Brunch The perfect snack for Sunday mornings
Serves 2 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes 2 x 80g panini rolls 4 x rashers of smoked streaky (lean) bacon 2 x small handfuls of spinach 3 xtbspof chopped tomato or your favourite chutney 3 x slices LowLow Toasties, each halved diagonally
- Grill or griddle the rashers for 3-4 minutes until crisp
- Once cooled, slice eachrasher in half lengthways
- Slice open the Panini, make sure not to cut all the way through. Spread each side with chutney and fill with 3 half slices of LowLow Toasties, spinach and 2 of the rashers.
- Heat a dry frying pan and toast the Panini on both sidesfor 2 minutes. Press down with a spatula on each side occasionally to ensure the panini has heated through.
Chicken Wrap Use up Sunday’s leftover chicken after a busy day at work in this quick and easy wrap
Serves 2 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
2 x wholemeal wraps 1 x (100g) medium skinless cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced 2 x tbsp red pesto, or any tomato based pasta sauce Pinch of chilli flakes, chilli powder or few drops Tabasco (optional) 4 xLowLow Toasties 2 x sprigs basil leaves
- Mix together the chicken and pestoand spread the mixture over one side of each wrap
- Scatter basil leaves and chilli on top of the mixture and finish with LowLow Toasties
- Fold over the wraps into a half moon shape to enclose the filling
- Heat a large dry frying pan, add the wraps and cook, for 2 minutes on each side until the filling is hot and the LowLowToasties have melted Cool for a minute, then slice each in half and serve
Ham, apple, and grainy mustard open sandwich Perfect for a night in with friends
Serves 2 Prep Time: 3 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
2 x 75g slices of fresh granary bread 3 x 20g slices of cooked ham, halved ½ small apple, cored and thinly sliced tossed with a squeeze of lemon juice 3 x LowLow Toasties, halved diagonally 2 x tsp wholegrain mustard
- Heat the grill to medium and toast the slices of granary bread on one side
- Remove once golden and spread the untoasted side with a little mustard
- Top each slice with 3 halves of LowLow Toasties, ham, and apple and season to taste
- Grill for a few minutes until the LowLow Toasties have melted
End of the month pitta Use your leftover veg at the end of the month for a tasty twist to a pizza
Serves 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
2 x small peppers, sliced 1 x medium courgette 4 x medium pitta breads 4 x tsp tomato chutney or sundried tomato puree 100g x cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered 6x LowLowToasties, halved Pinch of dried mixed herbs
- Heat a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan to a medium-high heat without oil
- Add a layer of peppers and courgettes and cook for a few minutes on each side until soft. Repeat this with the remainder of the peppers and courgettes
- Slice open each pitta and spread one side of each pitta with tomato puree
- Fill the pitta with the cooked peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and LowLow Toasties. Sprinkle with a pinch of mixed herbs and season according to taste
- Grill griddle or dry-fry the LowLow Toasties until they are melted