how to overcome end-of-year excesses (and pancakes)

This article was written in collaboration with the University of Paris health channel, For Better Health (PuMS).


After the end-of-year celebrations, and above all the famous festive and hearty seasonal meals, for a number of us we feel bloating, complicated digestion and sometimes even a few extra pounds … Faced with this profusion of calories, a source of anxiety for some, we wish in this article to give you the keys to avoiding blame and profit. It is important to give back some vitality to our body and to readjust gently after the excesses overcome!

Looking gloomy in front of a sad half-empty plate when everyone around you is celebrating is not a good approach. It is, in practice, difficult to find the compromise between pleasure and rigor in these convivial moments. That is enough to anticipate the relaxation to come, let us have fun, not to mention, listening to our feelings! Because you will see that it is easy to find a balance a few days later.

But how can we remedy this and restore the balance of our body? Let’s start with the nutritional analysis of a traditional Christmas meal, which will allow us to take stock of calories and the best way to pass it on. Recommendations that will obviously remain valid all year round, for any festive occasion.

Analysis of a typical holiday meal

A gourmet menu worthy of a festive meal is packed with animal protein and fat – and calories, as expected (see table). Consider a classic menu, consisting for example of five oysters, foie gras accompanied by its slice of gingerbread and confit figs, followed by capon with chestnuts and mashed sweet potatoes with a bundle of green beans, then cheeses (with fruit bread) and, finally, dignity, a log glazed with chocolate.

Summary table of calories ingested during a typical festive meal.
Manon keyboard, Author provided

With a total of 1,443 kiloscals, nearly the recommended amount of calories for one day (or 2,100 for an average woman and 2,600 for a man), you will need to pay close attention to your hunger in the following days.

The next day’s breakfast may be optional: having had an exceptionally rich intake the day before, you certainly won’t go hungry. Listen to your feelings, listen to your hunger and eat mindfully! Opt for a hot, unsweetened drink and fruit if you feel the need for energy.

Then all that remains is to manage the following days …

Balanced nutrition and physical activity

Eating lighter is obvious. The best advice is therefore to limit the consumption of fatty and sugary products, rich in calories: choose a more raw cuisine, preferably steamed, which retains nutrients better, and rich in vegetables.

Stay hydrated throughout the day. A few sips every hour. Add a few slices of lemon, mint leaves or even an infusion to stimulate your water intake to delight your taste buds and add some cheer. The most important thing is to provide your body with enough water to help eliminate the waste generated by recent excesses.

Of course, it’s also important to limit alcohol and sodas as much as possible. The goal is to lighten the work of the liver, which is responsible for detoxifying our precious organism! This body will be a major player in its regulation.

Careful to quantify your added fat, we will take inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine based on lean fish, such as cod or sole, cooked in foil or steamed. Choose lean, baked meat.

Make sure you stick to the portions recommended by your healthy eating plan and pay particular attention to starchy foods, which are always heavier to digest than vegetables … But beware, “limiting” doesn’t mean eliminating: you should keep them to a minimum while maintaining idea that your dish should contain twice as many vegetables as starchy foods.

Another point: eat slowly, take the time to appreciate what you are absorbing! It sounds trivial, but digestion begins in the mouth through chewing. Do not “rush” this first step will avoid the appearance of bloating, thus relieving the digestive work and reducing the quantities ingested. Taking time to taste will also promote the appearance of the satiety signal, even before the meal is over. The volume of your cymbals should be controlled and this is a good way to do it.

Last point: get moving! Holidays often result in prolonged meals, where a sedentary life reigns … It will be advisable, in the following days, to plan a more sustained physical activity: walking to go to work, cycling to move when the distances are greater, going downhill first from a bus or metro station, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

These are all very simple little changes that will increase your daily step count and cause you to expend more energy and burn excess calories.

Epiphany, pancakes and galettes …

The first trimester is done so that the culinary stresses don’t fade away! After the epiphany, which gives rise to a tasting of galettes (which I recommend you make at home from a nutritional and economic point of view), it is the turn of Candlemas to appear with a multitude of pancakes …

Simple pancakes next to the basic ingredients: flour, eggs, etc.
The calorific value of a simple crepe fluctuates between 40 and 60 kcal. Making your own pancakes, and then checking the products used, is the best from a nutritional point of view.
Chatham172 / Shutterstock

A simple crepe brings on average 40 to 60 kcal. But in reality it is difficult to define exactly the number of calories as the variations in the recipes and in the choice of filling are great: the thickness of the pancake, the number of eggs used, the addition of sugar or not in the recipe are so many factors that the nutritional value varies.

There remains the crucial question of the filling… Add on average 110 kcal for 20 g of chocolate spread and 45 kcal for a banana puree filling.

In addition to its sweet taste, this banana will provide you with fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can also choose light toppings like homemade compote, mashed fruit, oilseed puree (hazelnuts, almonds, etc.) or even melted dark chocolate.

To pass the crepe-galette test without difficulty, do not hesitate to anticipate this tasting with a light and gourmet meal, without excesses. You can combine this with a forty-minute walk, in the morning or in the evening, to make up for your afternoon pancakes.

It is generally accepted that a person weighing around 70kg will burn an average of 300 calories after 1 hour of fitness walking at 6km / h. So, don’t panic if your throat is associated with physical activity. No to frustration and yes to a diet, even a festive one: the important thing is to be aware of what you are eating.

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