The holiday season is a great time to enjoy the social and cultural aspects food brings. However, it can be a challenging time too with the temptation of a greater number of tasty treats and Christmas catch ups! Here are some tips to help strike the balance between enjoying the festive period, while maintaining your health and fitness goals.

Tips for Monitoring Energy Intake

  • Limit intake of fat on meats (i.e. pork crackling, skin on chicken/turkey), chocolates, mince pies, Christmas pudding, slices and energy dense sauces and spreads.
  • Don’t skip meals and graze instead – often leads to overdoing your energy intake by not allowing yourself to feel satisfied. Or you may overdo it in one meal and be left feeling very bloated and full.
  • Eat slowly and savour the great food Christmas has to offer.

Keep Active

  • Do your best to continue your usual exercise routine to maintain good health and your physique goals. Time your exercise around meals to limit excess snacking.
  • Organise to exercise with friends if your usual team training sessions break over the Christmas period.
  • Walk or ride to your Christmas parties, if practical.
  • Park further away when doing your Christmas shopping.

Social Gatherings and Christmas Parties

  • Don’t go to a party a hungry. Consider having a meal or small healthy snack before you go.  You will then be less likely to over indulge.

Alcohol and Liquid Calories

  • Suggest limit alcohol to just the main celebratory days of the festive season. Choose lower-energy alcoholic drinks where possible i.e. Nip of spirit with soda water and fresh lime, reduced alcohol beer. Include a large glass of water between each drink.
  • Drink primarily ‘energy-free’ fluids i.e. water, soda water, tea.

Portion Sizes

  • Resist piling the plate too high – Aim for:
        • ½ plate filled with vegetables and salad,
        • ¼ meat and meat alternatives (roast meat, turkey, ham, tofu)
        • ¼ cereal and grains (bread, rice, pasta, potato).

Energy Value of Common Christmas Foods and Treats

Mince Pie
Sm (40g) ~800kJ
Lg (70g) ~1400kJ

Roast Turkey (100g)
750kJ (skin on)
550kJ (skin off)

Christmas Pudding (1 slice – 50g)
650kJ

2 pieces Pork Crackling (1 piece – 20g)
850kJ

Cadbury Favourites (4 pieces) – 825kJ = 50 Fresh Cherries  875kJ

Olivia Warnes

Olivia Warnes

Dietitian