9 easy tips for staying healthy during the silly season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but not for our diets and fitness regimens. Here’s how to have an enjoyable festive season while keeping health goals intact.

While Christmas is a great time to relax and celebrate with family and friends, it’s not uncommon to wrap up the festivities a few kilograms heavier, faced with the daunting task of having to get back on track.

This year, instead of completely derailing your health goals, why not employ a few expert-backed tips to help you stay in control without compromising on all the fun.

Exercise in the morning

It can be hard to find the energy or motivation to exercise when there are parties and catch-ups to be had.

Fitness First head of fitness Michael Cunico says you can make it easier for yourself by making sure to “commit to exercise in the morning before your day gets busy”.

healthy christmas

Don’t go out on an empty stomach

If you hit a party hungry you will inevitably find yourself reaching for the first calorie-laden canape you can find.

Nutritionist and author of The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet, Michele Chevalley Hedge, advises eating at home before going out.

“This way you enjoy your glass of bubbles or beer without rubber-necking the entire party looking for something to eat.”

Skip the cocktails

Cocktails are delicious but laden with sugar. Instead, if you’d like a festive drink, Michele suggests choosing “a glass of bubbles or wine or, better yet, a spirit with soda water and lots of lime.”

Alternatively, opt for something alcohol-free.

Keep moving

It’s important not to go on a complete hiatus from your fitness routine.

“A big mistake people make over the holidays is taking a break from exercise all together. While it’s fine to let yourself off the hook and take some rest when it’s due, make sure you maintain some form of routine and continue to prioritise your workouts,” Michael says.

Choose wisely

When you’re at an event choose the right party food. Michele recommends seeking out protein such as prawns, chicken skewers or cheese.

“Skip the things with pastry and crackers,” she says.

Enjoy the outdoors

If heading to the gym is the last thing on your mind, incorporate some fun activities into your day that will help get you moving, Michael says.

Gather the family together for a game of backyard cricket on Christmas Day or go for a beautiful coastal walk with friends instead of sitting down for a long lunch.

To avoid putting on extra weight it’s important to make the best food choices possible. “Do not eat any white stuff. No bread, no sugar, no pasta, no white rice,” Michele says. “Fill up on proteins and vegies.”

Alternate drinks

Many people like to enjoy a few celebratory drinks during the festive season, but to avoid going over the top, Michele recommends having one glass of sparkling water in between every glass of alcohol.

This will help minimise the number of calories you’re consuming while drinking.

Set your alarm early

To avoid losing track of your fitness goals, build some daily movement into your routine. It doesn’t have to be a huge training session.

Michael says it can be as simple as setting your alarm 15 minutes early so you have time to go for a quick walk around the block before you start your day.

Don’t beat yourself up

If you do overindulge don’t be too hard on yourself — it is Christmas after all! Just aim to get back on track the next time you eat.

“Pick up at the next meal (by eating something that’s) high protein with lots of green vegies,” Michele says.

Need to bump up your veggie intake and get your diet back on track? Search our collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Written by Tania Gomez