The festive season is a period to spend quality time with family and friends and to share in the joys of love, Christmas and the holidays. It’s a time when you’re enticed with sweets and treats, not to mention the bottles of wine that keep on flowing! As if our work schedule wasn’t busy enough heading towards the end of the year, we also have to squeeze in luncheons or Christmas parties that would be rude to refuse. Where is the time for you? For some it is easy to give in and give up on healthy eating. “It’s only until the New Year” I hear you say…

Healthy eating and the festive season don’t need to be polar opposites. Here are my three top tips to keep you on track this silly season:

1. Choose lower kilojoule alternatives.
If you’re preparing the festive feast, the pressure is on you to make indulgent foods from succulent hams and hearty roasts to creamy puddings and fluffy pavlovas. You can still make wonderful meals and desserts using lower fat or sugar alternatives, without compromising on the taste, or the love! Try avocado, light cream cheese and agave nectar instead of butter, thickened cream and sugar in your recipes.
If you have the privilege of being a guest, first load your plate with light and colorful salads before you serve the heavier options. Summer fruits are great to give you a hit of sweetness after your meal without providing too many kilojoules.

2. Moderate alcohol intake.
Don’t be fooled to think that the beers with the BBQ or the wines at the work dinner are just the odd social drinks. Be mindful of how many drinks you have as alcohol packs a punch kilojoule wise and provides little to no nutrition. With all the parties you go to, the few drinks here and there can really add up to a lot at the end of the day. Having a glass of water between drinks will reduce how many bevvies you have and will also help to clear your head the next morning.

3. Don’t forget your exercise.
Exercise in itself is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and this is never truer than during the festive period. We all understand that time is precious and before you know it you might fall into the trap of putting off your after-work walk because you’re just too busy. Maintaining your exercise routine or enjoying some fun summer activities is going to ensure you won’t regret the little treats that have a habit of surprising you. Factor in some time to have a hit of tennis or play a game of footy especially if you know you’re going to have a big weekend, to help burn off the little, or big, indulgences.

We just have to accept that food and celebration are major parts of the holiday season- that’s one of the reasons why it is so enjoyable! This is not to say that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to indulge a little, but we should eat in moderation and maintain an active lifestyle, without losing the real meaning behind the festivities.