Make Christmas healthier (without anyone noticing)

It’s a common question: how do I enjoy the holiday season without the dreaded December spread? The good news is you don’t have to miss out on the celebrations to stay on track with your health.

You can have a healthier Christmas and still enjoy yourself with your loved ones by just making a few small, simple changes.

The food

Start your day on the right foot with a healthy breakfast on Christmas morning. That way you will be much less tempted to eat Christmas treats before your main meals.

Another way to help avoid overindulging in the pre-meal cheese and crackers is to position yourself away from the food platter. Easy access usually encourages mindless picking.

When it comes to Christmas lunch or dinner, take the opportunity to get plenty of serves of different vegetables onto your plate. Choose steamed, roasted or microwave veggies or fill-up on some fresh and simple salads.

An old favourite for the centrepiece of the family feast, turkey is also a good lean choice to put on your plate. No matter what meat you choose to serve up for the family though, select a lean cut and trim off all visible fat before cooking.

Lastly, take your time with your Christmas meal. Eating slowly will prevent you feeling uncomfortably full so you can better enjoy the company of your loved ones.

The drinks

It’s so important to remember to drink plenty of water, especially around this time of year. It will keep you hydrated on hot summer days as well as help you feel full.

If you choose to drink alcohol over the festive season, there are a few things to be mindful of:

  • Drinking alcohol (1 or 2 standard drinks a day) may add to the enjoyment of your festive events, but alcoholic drinks are high in energy (kilojoules/calories) and can be a big contributor to the Christmas spread.
  • Watch your serving size: 100mls of wine is one standard drink but it is often served in glasses that are three times that.
  • Be careful with top-ups: topping up your glass can lead to you losing count of the amount you have been drinking. Finish one glass before accepting a top-up.

Get moving

It is beautiful outside during the festive season so take a walk down the street, to the park or along the beach. A nice tradition is to take a walking tour of the Christmas lights around your suburb. It’s a great way to spend time together and you won’t even notice that you’ll already be burning off a little of that dinner.

Interested in a health coach?

The COACH Program® is a confidential free health coaching service delivered over the phone by nib’s Accredited Practicing Dietitians to help those at risk of, or with, Coronary Heart Disease. Based on a self-management model, it’s all about helping you to take better care of yourself. Please phone 1800 339 219 or email [email protected] for more information.