It’s early December and your calendar is just as full as the fridge and pantry, ready to entertain. Chocolate, cookies, chips, cheeses. This Saturday is a Christmas reunion with old friends, Sunday is the in-laws and then school Christmas celebrations dotted throughout the week. You’re already exhausted from a big year and might be thinking, “How am I going to survive the silly season?”.  

On average, 40% of Australian’s put on 3kg throughout the festive season, with majority of this the result of increased alcohol intake and poor nutrition. So, how can you have a healthier Christmas this year? We don’t want to be the Grinch, but we do believe you can maintain a healthy weight and exercise routine throughout this time.  

How to maintain a healthy weight during Christmas 

Tip #1: Don’t skip breakfast!  

Celebratory lunches and dinners often lead us to overeating. Whilst reducing the amount of food we eat is a good idea in maintaining our weight, skipping meals isn’t the answer.  

Start the day with a fibre and protein rich meal such as eggs on toast or fruit and high protein yoghurt. Protein keeps us feeling fuller for longer and reduces the chances of us reaching for snacks throughout the day. 

Tip #2: Try something new 

Traditionally, Christmas lunches or dinners are filled with energy dense dishes. Perhaps this year, swap out some of the more traditional dishes and nibbles with some lighter and more nutritious options. Swap cheese platters for prawns, creamy bakes for fresh salads and Christmas ham for whole baked salmon.  

Tip #3: Consider your drink options  

If you are consuming alcohol over the festive season, aim to drink in moderation. Whilst it is important to enjoy the festivities, heavy drinking or binge drinking can increase the risk of heart disease, even if you are not a frequent drinker.  

Swap out full-strength beers for a lower strength, wine for prosecco and choose cocktails with vodka or gin and sodas – these are much lower in calories. Supermarket shelves are stocked with plenty of sugar free options to substitute the usual sugary soft drinks. Most importantly, stay hydrated! Aim to have one glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.  

Check out our ‘You are what you drink’ resource here.  

Tip #4: Keep moving  

With the cricket on the TV, food comas and a busy schedule, exercising and keeping active can fall under the radar during the silly season.  

Keeping active during this time is important not only for your physical health, but your mental health. With school holidays and some time off work, making it a habit to get outside every day for at least 30 minutes can be a great way to keep active. Head down to the beach, explore a local walking track or get the bikes out!  

Tip #5: Enjoy and relax  

The silly season can be overwhelming and making healthier choices can be hard when we are run off our feet. However, there are strong correlations between poor nutrition, lack of exercise and mental health. Don’t be afraid to say no to things, plan and prepare ahead and make time for rest. Prioritising sleep for at least 7-9 hours per night will allow your body and brain to rest and restore.  

This time of year can also be difficult for some, and may be a period where you need extra support. Speaking to your General Practitioner or a counsellor can help you navigate changes in your stress or mood throughout this period.  

Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging over the Christmas period, however by implementing some small habits and behaviours, you can have a healthier Christmas and still enjoy all the festivities.