Resist the urge to stock up on bags of crisps (chips), boxes of cookies and tubs of chocolates: if you’ve got them in the house, you’re likely to end up digging into them – even if you’re supposedly saving them for when guests come round, or for when you need a hostess gift.
Instead, look out for some yummy and healthy snacks, to enjoy yourself during December, or to serve at holiday parties.
A few great ones are:
Olives – much healthier than crisps, and lower in calories than nuts. They contain monounsaturated fat, which is great for your heart. The strong flavour means you won’t munch them like other snack foods. Buy stoned varieties to slow your eating even more.
Shelled nuts – although nuts are good for you, they’re high in calories so you should only eat small portions. This is easier said than done (especially when faced with a bowl of cashews). Try buying shelled nuts, like pistachios; these take much longer to eat since you’ll need to remove the shell from each and every one…
Spicy foods – another trick for slower snacking is to buy spicy nibbles, as it’s hard to eat too many of these without feeling like you’re breathing fire! Spicy Bombay mix is often a good one, as it contains healthy ingredients like lentils, split peas, peanuts and dried fruit.
Dark chocolate – if you must have chocolate, go for some rich, dark chocolate; the flavour is intense enough that you’ll be satisfied with just a small piece. For a low-calorie alternative to after-dinner chocs, try serving Amoretti biscuits or biscotti with coffee.
Satsumas – I love the sweet, juicy flavour of Satsumas, which are in season here in the UK, and on offer in most supermarkets. They make a palate-cleansing alternative to richer snacks, and look nice presented as part of a table centre-piece, perhaps with other seasonal fruits too.