A Dietitian’s top tips to help you keep on track this silly season.

It is officially that time of year! As much as we all love Christmas, it can be a tricky time, where routines are broken and we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to buy the perfect gift, make the perfect meal and stay in ‘perfect shape’. With Christmas fast approaching let’s take some of that pressure off! A value that tends to or should underpin Christmas is kindness and it is important that we remember to also show kindness to ourselves and allow ourselves to enjoy the festive season.  With that said here are a Dietitian’s few top tips to help you make some slightly better decisions about food and keep on track this holiday season from Ideal Eats Dietitian Emma Burden. 

1. Aim for balance. 

With special occasions often centred around food it can be easy to overeat and over-drink, therefore it may be helpful to set yourself some reasonable boundaries. Find a comfortable middle ground, still let yourself go out and enjoy gatherings but minimise going overboard. Strive to make healthy choices where you can. 

2. Choose lean types of meat possible. 

We all love a good roast or BBQ at Christmas time, but do you ever think about what types of meat you are choosing to eat and the differences between them. Generally, the leaner the meat the better for you. The leaner types of meat include turkey, chicken, and fish. When choosing beef or pork; round, chuck, sirloin, or tenderloin are typically the leanest. Sausages, deli meats or cuts of meat where you can see fat (known as marbling) are the ones to watch out for and be mindful of how much you are consuming.  

3. Fill your plate with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.

There are so many delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables around, make it an aim to include them in your daily diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines (guidelines and information about types and amounts of food; food groups and dietary patterns that aim to promote health and wellbeing; reduce the risk of diet-related conditions and chronic diseases) suggest adults should have 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day and ensure lots of variety. When filling up your plate at that Christmas Lunch buffet try and stick to about ½ the plate being vegetables, ¼ lean meat (or meat alternative) and ¼ grains and cereals (e.g., pasta, rice, bread etc.).  

4. Limit the salt. 

Avoid throwing that extra bit of salt into cooking or onto your plate. We often already have too much salt in our diet which can lead to health implications in the long run. A high salt diet can also cause fluid retention and lead to bloating. 

5. Be careful of hidden sugar in drinks.

Make sure to drink plenty of water and be careful of hidden energy in drinks. Alcohol is packed with unwanted kilojoules; it also impairs our ability to heal and causes dehydration. One can of coke has around 675kJ add a spirit to that and one drink could have over 1000kJ or one glass of champagne has about 400kJ. When indulging be mindful of how much you are drinking and understand it still counts as energy. 

6.Treat yourself but try not to overdo the Christmas pudding.

We all enjoy dessert and Christmas is no exception! Treat yourself but try not to go overboard. Perhaps it is best to have a plan before attending an event or several events and set yourself a goal, for example I will enjoy and not feel guilty about consuming a slice of Christmas Pudding with custard on Christmas day and then be mindful of not overdoing it at another event. 

7. Stay Active 

The holiday provides plenty of opportunity to stay active! Aim to move at least 30 minutes a day (an hour would be even better). Sign up for one of Train Like A Ballerina’s programs to keep you accountable and aim to complete your training in the morning so you’re not only feeling great for the remainder of the day but you can relax more as well. Also keep in mind social occasions do not all need to just revolve around food and drinks perhaps invite a friend to go for a walk on the beach to catch up. Or complete a Train Like a Ballerina workout together.

8. Take home message

Christmas time means family, presents and of course enjoying a lovely meal or two, so remember to enjoy your food over the holiday season and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. We hope you can utilise these tips to aid your decision-making regarding food and find balance. Notably, if you suffer from any physiological or psychological issues and are concerned about your health over the holidays or for the new year Dietitian Emma recommends contacting your doctor, a psychologist, or a dietitian for individualised health advice. Importantly, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and staying active all year round will assist you in achieving your goals and staying healthy into the future. Happy holidays everyone and A Happy New Year!

Contact Ideal Eats Dietetics to book an appointment online or in person with Dietitian Emma to help you achieve your nutrition goals the ideal way! 

Author : Emma Burden BND (Hons) Accredited Practising Dietitian & TLB team Dietitian