How cyclists can eat and drink sensibly this Christmas

Top cycling dietician Nigel Mitchell - head of nutrition for EF Education First Pro Cycling – offers a few tips on keeping on top of your festive food and alcohol intake

A lovely Christmas dinner with all the trimmings

This Christmas, probably more than any other in recent history, is definitely a time to kick back, relax and indulge yourself. We will certainly be doing that here at Cycling Plus. Of course, you can have too much of a good thing so here’s how to ensure you enjoy yourself just the right amount!

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Know The Numbers

“On average, people put on an additional two kilos over the Christmas period,” says Nigel Mitchell , head of nutrition with EF Education First Pro Cycling “I advise cyclists to make sure the entire festive season isn’t spent overindulging – for starters, look to have twice as many ‘dry’ days as ones where you drink alcohol.”

Keep A Clear Head

“Sure you’re going to be drinking at times and the spirits will be flowing but you can still limit the damage,” says Mitchell. “Beers with 5-6% abv alcohol can pack around 300-350 calories with the additional sugars. If you’re having the odd tipple, go for dry white wine or the clear spirits that aren’t so calorific. If you’re having beers then squeeze a glass of water or low-cal soft drink in between them.”

Fayre’s Fair

“Much of the traditional Christmas Day meal is pretty good –it’s the ‘trimmings’, the cakes, nuts, sweets and desserts along with the booze that can really cause havoc. Avoid arriving at a party hungry – get a solid, low-Gi meal inside you beforehand. You’ll reduce the risk of grazing on high-salt nibbles and rocketing your calorie intake.”

Take Seasonal Advantage

“The weather may not be on your side but the time off work, reduced traffic and emphasis on social interaction make it an ideal for time cycling,” says Mitchell. “Mark the calendar with training rides, on the road or turbo, in between parties and shopping.”

Watch For Merry Xtras

If you’re weight-watching, buffets can be a problem. “Fill your plate once, and don’t go back for more,” warns Mitchell. Load a few choice items on your plate and beware overly fatty foods.

Image: Getty Images

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