Christmas dinner with friends

Tips For A Healthy And Happy Christmas

Written by: Victoria Hanlon
Senior Writer

Christmas, it’s a time for family, celebration, gift-giving, and, for many people, eating! With so many pre-Christmas catchups, office parties, family get-togethers and, of course, the all-important Christmas lunch, it’s easy to feel like you’ve eaten your body weight in indulgent goodies come new year.

Well, with some careful planning and thoughtful choices, you can enjoy a healthy and happy festive season, while still embracing Christmas cheer. Even though eating whatever you want for a few days around Christmas will not affect your wellbeing in the long term, planning for this time means you can maintain some balance, helping you to avoid the familiar festive state of feeling lethargic and sluggish.

  • Here are one of our dietitian’s top tips on how to enjoy Christmas and still feel good:
  • Have a no-guilt Christmas. Prevent self-sabotage by avoiding unrealistic goals and feeling guilty. When restrictions are removed, you may find you eat smaller amounts rather than binging.
  • Eat mindfully and ask questions before you eat. What do I really feel like? How much do I want?
  • Avoid negative self-talk. One indulgent meal isn’t an excuse to binge for the rest of the holidays, you can return to your usual nourishing choices and enjoy this meal without guilt.
  • Keep Christmas treats for Christmas time, not mid-November or for the rest of January.
  • Eat regular meals, rather than skipping in anticipation for what’s coming. You are more likely to overeat and be less selective when hungry.
  • Try creating platters of food that make you feel energised: summer fruits, nuts, roasted chickpeas, smashed avocado, cheese, or yoghurt-based dips with veggie sticks.
  • Serve vegetables up first and place them at the start of buffets.
  • Drizzle and sprinkle vegetable dishes with healthy fats including extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and add herbs like basil, oregano and rosemary for extra flavour.
  • Help yourself to one generous plate from the table rather than returning numerous times.
  • Start with water before alcoholic drinks. Try sparkling water with lemon juice for an extra kick.
  • Remember, it is okay to say, ‘no thank you’. Feel comfortable with leaving food on your plate and don’t drink alcohol if you don’t want to.
  • Give wellbeing-focused presents - pots of herbs, fresh nuts, yoga classes, a subscription for a magazine, chutneys, good quality oils and vinegars, and spice mixes.
  • Keep active. Enjoy a game of golf, cricket, swimming, surfing, bowls, or whatever you enjoy. Catchups with friends don’t have to be food and drink focused - try a walk and a chat instead.

Victoria Hanlon - Senior Writer