Christmas, New Year and summer-time eating can be difficult when you are trying to eat healthy or for achieving weight loss goals.  It’s time to make some decisions to guide your eating over the Summer.

1 Yes, you do have options

Do you want to aim for health or weight loss gains?  Or do you want to maintain what you have achieved already?  Or do you want to let loose for now and review the situation after the New Year?

woman making choices

By considering these options, it allows yourself to give you permission to follow what you really want to do in the coming weeks.  When you have made your choice then set new goals accordingly.  For info on goal setting check out this link.

2 Be kind to yourself

No matter what option you choose, it’s still very easy to fall off the wagon!  If that happens think about the advice you would give a good friend and give it to yourself.  My advice goes like this: 

  • Don’t beat yourself up. 
  • It happens to us all. 
  • Tomorrow is a new day and you can get back on the health and fitness wagon again.

3 Gather support

Tell your family and friends what you would like to achieve over the coming weeks, so they give you the support you need.  

You can be specific about this support, for example:

  • Ask your partner to help you go slow on the champagne by keeping you supplied with plenty of sparkling mineral water.
  • Ask friends not to give you food or alcohol gifts. 
  • Ask family to include some lower energy (kilojoule or calorie) food choices for Christmas Day and New Year celebrations – see my Healthy Christmas Menu below for some ideas.

4 Be sensible

Being sensible isn’t always sexy but it’s sooo practical.

Keep doing your regular exercise routine.

exercise in summer

If you are going away on holiday, check out the facilities of your holiday destination before you leave – is there a gym or a park where you can continue your exercise program? Or ask your PT to write you a no equipment/body weight program to keep you on track while you are away.

Enjoying seasonal treats like plum pudding, Christmas fruit mince pies and Christmas cake doesn’t mean you have to eat the entire pudding/basket of pies/cake! 

If you are contributing to the food or drink for a family gathering bring some healthy choices.

When you are going out, if you don’t think you want to drink alcohol, make sure there are some non-alcoholic drinks available and offer to be the sober driver.  Everyone will love you!

5 Be smart

Going to a buffet? Fill your plate once and don’t go back! Sit facing away from the buffet table so you don’t feel left out when other diners return.

Got an aunt who thinks you are malnourished and is always thrusting more food on you at family gatherings?  Never finish your plate so there is always something on it!  “No! I couldn’t possibly fit any more of this delicious food!

Fill your wine glass with a low joule/non-alcoholic drink when you feel you’ve had enough alcohol. You still feel like you are part of the celebration without having to be relegated to using the plastic cups for the kid’s drinks! 

Let your hair down! Let go and enjoy the celebration. You don’t need to have alcohol to have a great time!

6 Remember a few basics

Make sure you get enough water everyday.  Summer is very hot and dehydrating in Australia and it’s easy to get confused between feeling hungry and feeling thirsty.  Carry a bottle of water with you always.

Eat your 2 and 5 everyday. That’s 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegies (what is a serve?  Check out our free downloadable  How Much Should I Be Eating? for a guide on serve sizes).  

Move your body regularly! Yes, you may be on holidays but that doesn’t mean you have to be glued to Netflix, the latest computer game or your fave mag the whole season.

7 Enjoy your celebration day!

beach cricket

Whether your family put the emphasis on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve make sure you relax and get involved on the special day. 

Eat mindfully – enjoy every mouthful!  Get the whole family involved with really tasting the meal!

Run around with the kids, play beach cricket or boules, anything to move more!

Check out my healthy Christmas menu – can you use some or all of these ideas for your special day?

Healthy Christmas menu

fruity sparkling mineral water


Sparkling mineral water flavoured with muddled lime, mint leaves or lemon or fruit like lychees or raspberries served in a beautiful glass

Entrée – a share platter

cheese and dip platter

Your favourite dips (guacamole, hummus, baba ganoush) with vegetable crudités (carrot and celery sticks, green beans, snow peas) and toasted flatbread, broken into pieces

Include on the platter two of your favourite cheeses and a few grapes, dates, roasted cashews and black olives

And a big bowl of cherries


Roasted salmon pieces spread with lemon slices and for the vegans/vegetarians a nutloaf full of macadamia nuts, cranberries, pistachios and brown lentils

Make a huge warm salad with small pieces of roasted potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin and beetroot tossed through cooked pearled couscous or barley or brown basmati rice and rocket leaves or chopped kale.  Drizzle with a dressing of balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil


For each diner, 1 cup of stone fruit salad (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots) drizzled with 1 teaspoon of your favourite fruit spirit or liqueur (for adults only) and served with a scoop of store-bought lemon sorbet

My personal goals this Christmas are to maintain my weight and fitness by continuing to exercise while allowing myself some seasonal treats in small portion sizes.  What will your goals be?  I’d love to hear about them, email me!

Check out our services if you would like help to work toward achieving your health goal

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Post byDale Cooke

I'm a nutritionist, dietitian and personal trainer with 29 years of experience helping people improve their health. I really like using a non-diet philosophy to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Can I help you improve your health?