Festive Season Survival Tips

Christmas is a time for celebration, spending time with friends and family and enjoying festive foods and drinks. Nutrition-wise, this festive fare can be a challenge.

Here are some simple tips to help you survive the festivities:

  • Don’t try to lose weight over the festive season. With parties, families and all the special foods that go with Christmas, it’s going to be just about impossible! Your main aim should be to maintain your weight (using some of the tips below!)
  • Eat regular meals. If you skip meals you are more likely to fill up on high fat snacks. It only takes a few of these snacks to add up to more calories than your usual meal.
  • Avoid going to a function hungry, you can easily eat a lot of party food in a short time. Have a small snack beforehand like a bowl of cereal, yoghurt or a sandwich are quick and will help fill you up. It will also help if you are well hydrated, so try drinking a few glasses of water before you arrive.
  • Deep fried foods, crumbed and battered foods, cheese platter and nuts are all high in fat. Choose fruit, vegetable or bread based snacks.
  • If you are hosting the party, offer your guests a range of healthy snacks. Always popular are hummus or salsa dips with vegetable sticks.
  • If you are taking a plate, make yours a healthy option. How about a platter of fruit currently in season?
  • Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full.
  • Just say ‘No” to food – mentally practice strategies to decline food offers. For example: “It looks amazing but I am full” or “I tried it and it was great”.
  • Chat and mingle. If you are bored at a party you’re more likely to hover around the food table or seek out the serving platter. A good conversation can distract you from the food. Avoid standing right beside the food table or bar while you’re talking.
  • Consider your drinks, they can add to the calorie count very quickly. Try diluting your alcoholic drinks, such as a spritzer (½ wine, ½ soda). If you prefer spirits, try a diet mixer. Lite beers are lower in calories and alcohol. Remember soft drinks, juices, punches, tonic water and flavoured mineral water can all have similar calories to alcoholic drinks.
  • Be aware of how much you are actually drinking. Alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water and non-alcoholic choices.
  •  Keep Active. Join in the Christmas backyard cricket game or go for a walk with friends or relatives. Remember you’re aiming for 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  •  If your regular exercise class stops over the Christmas break, plan other types of exercise – organise your friends and put a date in your diary.

If you do really overdo the festive foods or drinks, take a deep breath and start the next day afresh with healthy foods and some exercise. No fasting – just sensible eating. Remember, a few parties don’t make you overweight, it’s what you do all the other days of the year which count.

Foods to choose

  • Vegetable sticks for dipping
  • Oven baked pita chips
  • Pretzels, rice crackers, rice nibbles
  • Baguettes, focaccia or bread or bread rolls
  • Open sandwiches, kebabs, fresh seafood
  • Hummus, salsas
  • Small pieces of your favourite cheese
  • Fruit cake
  • Fruit salad and a slither of the best dessert available

Foods to avoid

  • Chips
  • Corn Chips
  • Nuts (healthy fats but high in energy)
  • Garlic bread, high-fat crackers
  • Deep fried savouries, quiches, cheerios, salami
  • High-fat dips
  • Large quantities of cheese
  • Mince pies, short bread
  • Large pieces of cheesecake, mud cake, caramel tarts or anything topped with copious quantities of cream!

Last modified: January 25, 2022