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How to stay healthy this festive season

With Summer AND Christmas on its way, it can be a little hard to stay on track with your weight goals when there’s a flood of party invites coming in. Did you know that on average, Australians gain between 0.8-1.5kg over this period? That might not sound like a lot but this study shows that the extra weight gained isn’t lost during the rest of the year, meaning the people taking part in the research, continued to gain weight every holiday season.

To be fair though, from family dinners and get-togethers with friends to BBQs and eating out, the food table at any party can be a trap for even the healthiest person in the room. But with a little planning, you can navigate your way through the holiday season's parties with these easy tips to keep your body and health on track for the new year.

1. Eat dinner before going to a party

The easiest way to successfully avoid the food table at any party is to eat beforehand. Having a light, healthy dinner before heading out means you’ll be feeling full and less likely to overindulge.

2. Eat smart

Most party food tables will have healthier food options. Instead of a handful of chips, choose cut up vegetables dipped in hummus or salsa, fruit pieces, sushi or a handful of nuts.

3. Don't skip breakfast

Breakfast is one meal in the day where it’s easy to eat light and healthy. Start the day right by making the most of healthy options provided where you're staying or step out and buy your own. Eating breakfast can also help reduce your chance of overindulging later in the day. Check out our breakfast recipes for some inspiration.

4. Snack attack

Don’t fall into the snacking trap of chips, chocolate and lollies. It'll leave you feeling sluggish and your hunger won’t be satisfied. Instead, bring something to share that you know you can enjoy without hurting your progress. Head to the local supermarket and stock up on nuts, oat-based muesli bars, fruit and wholegrain crackers to keep you going when you get peckish. If you’re tempted to taste everything, think bite-sized portions to avoid overfilling your plate. Read our article on how to incorporate snacking into your diet here.

5. Carry water

Always have a bottle of water handy. It's the best drink for you and will also help stop you from overindulging when you’re hungry. How can you tell if you’re drinking enough water? Find out in this article.

6. Dining out decisions

The way food is cooked can have a significant impact on the amount of calories it contains. When navigating a menu, choose grilled or baked rather than fried or battered, as these cooking methods result in less fat.

7. Healthy swaps

Choose dishes based on wholegrains like brown rice or wholegrain pasta and plenty of vegetables or ask to swap fries for extra veggies or a salad. Choosing tomato or vegetable based sauces over creamy and cheese-based ones is better for your waist.

  1. Nutrition Australia, Oct 2011, Tips to beat the Christmas bulge Fact Sheet,

  2. The New England Journal of Medicine, March 23 2000, A prospective study on holiday weight gain,