The festive season is notorious for weight gain. The typical Australian Christmas is often centred around family, friends, eating &  drinking. For many of us overindulging goes mostly unnoticed as we are busy socialising with family & friends.

Tackling Christmas Weight Gain – These unhealthy habits throughout the Christmas period have obvious repercussions on our health. So how can we simultaneously enjoy the liberties of staying in good shape and experiencing the festive food galore?

  1. Pre-game

On the day of the event, drink plenty of water and have a big healthy breakfast before you go to your Christmas lunch. Having a substantial amount of healthy food and drink prior to the temptations of festive food can help you hold off on mindlessly eating unnecessary and unhealthy food.

  1. Game plan – Initial Greetings

You rock up, greet everyone, find yourself comfortable with finger food and drink to start. This is inevitable, so it is vital that you go in with a game plan.

Finger foods – AVOID pastries at all costs as they are full of saturated fats and oils which are difficult for your body to breakdown. Instead, opt for healthier foods such as salads, sushi, seafoods and skewers. Always choose brown rice sushi where available, as white rice can contain large amounts of carbs. Prawns, oysters are good, but be mindful of the sodium content and ensure you only have around 2 servings.

  1. Game plan – The lunch

All sights are directed at the dreaded buffet at this point in time. Questions like “What am I going to eat?”, “How much should I eat?” and “How can I impress my family/friends/co-workers with my healthy food selections?” are racing through people’s minds.

At a buffet, go for greens first. Although it’s mentioned in almost all the articles tackling the Christmas kilojoules, this tactic works – even if it pains you to opt for healthier foods rather than the beloved pies and sausage rolls. Next, pick up staple proteins like chicken, beef and lamb. Lastly, some rice, nuts if available. Filling up your plate with these goodies will leave very little space for unhealthy foods, tricking your mind into thinking that what you have is enough to fill you up anyway.

Make sure to limit your drinks to one or two, having at least a glass of water with each drink you have. It goes unnoticed, but many people forget that alcoholic drinks themselves can hold lots of carbs and calories! If you can, keep to low carb beers and ‘light’ options where possible.

  1. Game plan – There’s always room for dessert!

Somehow this notion of always having room for dessert has been engrained into the minds of festivity loving indulgers.

A simple tip is to choose fruits, yoghurt and small pieces of delights if you can’t resist. Again, drinking plenty of water and even a long black coffee to help you survive the food coma.

  1. What else can I do?

Be the healthy element – bring the healthy food platter; think of yourself, bringing what you know is healthy and good for you. Eat that instead if there are limited healthy options available.

Walk around. Whether it be an excuse to socialise with other people or a way to help metabolise the food baby you just produced, walking around is a good way to help control the caloric damage. Frequent mingling and walking will also help you assess how much you have drunk, indicating whether or not another drink is really necessary.

Following these steps will help avoid encountering weight gain in this festive season. After all, gaining around 2kgs and having to make it a New Year’s resolution to try and lose this weight during the remainder of the year just isn’t worth it. Be sensible with the food and drink choices to enjoy a healthy yet mindful holiday period which you won’t negatively affect your health.