The odd night on the vol-au-vents and sausage rolls isn't going to hurt, but the abundance of pre and post Christmas parties means your waistline is likely to pay the price in the long term– and that’s without taking into account the Christmas Day feast and Boxing Day leftover frenzy.

You need to take in an extra 3,500 calories to put on 1lb of weight. It might sound like a lot but with around 250 calories in a couple of sausage rolls and the same number in a large handful of nuts, it won’t take much effort to notch up the extra calories.

Accredited sports dietician Chris Cashin has devised a plan to see you through the party season and complement your new found fitness regime, without stopping the celebrations.

  • Eat breakfast
    Many dieters often skip breakfast in an attempt to cut calories. This might sound logical but research shows that skipping breakfast can in fact cause weight gain. Eating breakfast provides the body with the initial fuel needed for the day, keeping the brain and body alert and ready for the day ahead. Try porridge, or wholegrain cereal and fruit to keep you going throughout the morning.
  • Don’t go to your party hungry
    Christmas parties tend to serve calorie and fat-laden snacks, such as cheese, deep-fried nibbles, sweets and alcohol. Resisting all temptation is unrealistic but you can avoid overindulging by making sure you don’t arrive hungry. Try not to starve yourself throughout the day – you’ll only blow-out at the buffet table and spoil your good intentions. Drink a couple of glasses of water and have a snack before you go out to take the edge off your appetite.
  • Choose carefully
    It’s not all vol-au-vents and scotch eggs. It is possible to eat healthily at a party buffet, you just need to know what to pile up on and what to avoid.

Healthy options:

  • Sandwiches with salad, chicken or tuna
  • Slices of lean meat
  • Salad
  • Dips and crudités
  • Dried or fresh fruit
  • Grilled or baked chicken sticks like satay
  • Olives

Unhealthy options:

  • Sausages and sausage rolls
  • Vol-au-vents or other pastries
  • Sandwiches packed with mayonnaise
  • Deep-fried food such as breaded mushrooms and onion rings
  • Nibbles such as peanuts and crisps
  • Choose alcohol with care

You should exercise as much caution with drink as you do with food. Some drinks are much higher in the calorie count than others, so be aware. Try drinking a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink to cut down on the calories and lessen overall consumption. If you’re abstaining from alcohol, be sure to stick to sugar free soft drinks as sugary carbonated drinks can be just as high in the calories stakes as alcohol.

Lower calorie options:
Spirit with low-cal tonic 50 calories
Glass of dry white wine 140 calories
Glass of champagne 130 calories

Higher calorie options:
Pint of lager 240 kcal
Baileys (1 measure) 130 kcal
Alcopops 200kcal