Nutrition

A Dietitian's Tips for a Healthy and Happy Christmas

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Written by Victoria Hanlon | Swisse Author

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.

Simone Austin, Swisse Dietitian, says, “Even though eating whatever you want on Christmas Day, or even a few days, will not affect your long-term wellbeing, planning through this time can help to maintain our health. It will help you achieve some balance, where you can enjoy the Christmas period feeling fresh and energised, rather than lethargic and sluggish.”

Christmas fruit mince pies on a plate

Fortunately, Simone is on hand to offer her expert suggestions on how to enjoy Christmas and 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 - while 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 of extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and herbs like basil, oregano and rosemary.
  • 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, subscription for a magazine, chutneys, good quality oils and vinegars, and spice mixes.
  • Move it, move it! 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 talk instead.