Cured meats, alcohol, salty and sweet snacks: when and how much to consume so as not to jeopardize the figure and health?
Christmas. Time for pandoro and panettone, spoon desserts, chocolate and dried fruit, cured meats and processed meat. Delicious foods, but also extremely rich in sugars, saturated fats and sodium: three substances that would be better to take in quantity only occasionally. How to enjoy the holidays, therefore, and at the same time avoid taking too large portions of voluptuous foods, that is, which are not essential for the needs of macro and micronutrients and which, due to the high energy density and low nutrient content ( or due to the large dose of fats, sugars, salt, alcohol and other substances), risk compromising the balance of the diet and health? For most of these products – as mentioned – experts recommend occasional and limited consumption.
But what are the right portions? With regard to luxury foods, the Larn – IV revision define the following portions and units of measurement, to be understood raw, net of waste or, in some cases, the food ready for consumption (for example milk and derivatives, bread , some sweets, etc.):
Sweets and sugar: less is more
They are among the typical foods of the Christmas period and it is difficult to resist them. You can fix it by following some simple tips:
- Limit your sugar intake by reducing the number of teaspoons you add to drinks, candies and sweets; do not reduce the consumption of fruit or milk that are important for health regardless of their sugar content.
- Prefer, among sweet foods, baked goods that contain less fat and sugar and more starch, such as some biscuits, unfilled cakes, etc. Remember that a less caloric dessert than others is ice cream, but be careful not to overdo the quantities.
- Use sweet products to spread on bread or rusks in controlled quantities (not only creams but also jams, fruit jams, honey).
- Limit the consumption of products that contain a lot of sugar and especially those that stick to the teeth, such as soft candies, nougats, etc. However, always brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
- Limit the consumption of sugary drinks as much as possible – the extra calories they bring can cause you to gain weight and have a negative impact on health.
The ideal quantities? Cakes, spoon desserts, chocolate and spreads, candied fruit and syrup should only be consumed occasionally. In particular, for cakes, spoon desserts and ice cream, the reference portion is 100 grams which, respectively, correspond to: 1 small slice of cake, 1 pudding, 1 medium cup of spoon desserts and 2 scoops of ice cream. Chocolate, snacks, bars and chips should not exceed 30 grams, while 15 grams of sweet and chocolate spreads are the ideal amount (corresponding to about 1 heaped teaspoon). 3 dried figs or dates and half a peach in syrup are the recommended dose for dried / dehydrated and canned fruit. 20 g for honey and jam.
Wine and beer
If alcohol is not consumed regularly, this should also be avoided during the holidays. If you drink, however, it is good to limit yourself to the quantities indicated, occasionally and in any case during meals. The recommended quantities are:
- Wine: 1 small glass (125 ml)
- Beer: 330 ml (1 can)
- Vermouth / aperitifs: 75 ml (1 small glass of vermouth)
- Spirits: 40 ml (1 shot glass of hard alcohol)
Processed and preserved meats
Typical Christmas gifts, cooked and raw ham, salami, canned meats in jelly, wurstel, bresaola, speck, pancetta, mortadella etc. they are loved by many people. However, keep in mind that these foods are a great source of saturated fat and sodium. The suggestion, therefore, is to consume them only occasionally and in small quantities. The portions recommended by experts are 50 grams, which correspond to 3-4 medium slices of ham, 5-6 medium slices of salami or bresaola, 3 medium slices of mortadella.
And let's not forget to keep an active lifestyle if possible. Park the car away from home or the office so that we are forced to walk, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog, move on foot, etc. they are a good start for increasing daily movement.