Surviving the festive season

Healthy tips and tasty ideas

With the festive season approaching we are all looking forward to celebrating good food among good company. With all of the celebration and excitement around this time of year it can often become all too easy to depart from your usual healthy eating habits and so it’s no wonder they call it silly season. Our team of dietitians have therefore put together some simple tips and tasty ideas to you get through the festive season.

Balance it out

Tis the season, so be sure to enjoy your favourite treats in moderation. While enjoying the celebrations don’t forget to balance out your food choices and aim to include a variety of core grains foods and legumes as well as lean protein, low fat dairy, fruit, salads and vegetables to get all of the nutrients you need.

Keep your eating routine

This time of year often means changes in your daily routine, it is important to maintain a regular eating pattern to get the most out of time away from work or study. By eating regularly you can maintain your energy levels and prevent yourself from overeating at the next meal and feeling as stuffed as the Christmas turkey. Check out these quick and easy meal & snack ideas:

Spicy Chickpea Nibbles

Tuna Snacks

Rye Bread Crostinis

Plan to perform in the Christmas crowds

Plan a nutritious meal before heading out to do your Christmas shopping. If you are planning a big day of bargains why not bring some healthy snacks with you. Base your pre shopping meal or snacks on core grain foods or legumes to provide you with lasting energy to get through the Christmas crowds.

• Whole grain (wholemeal or mixed grain) toast, crumpets or English muffins

• High fibre or whole grain breakfast cereal or natural muesli

• Porridge or bircher muesli

• Sandwiches, rolls or wraps made with high fibre bread and your favourite filling

• Salads made with grains like brown rice and cracked wheat (bulgur), or legumes like four bean mix, kidney beans and chickpeas

Be innovative

Experiment with some not so familiar grains and legumes. Why not try some of these easy to make snacks and side dish ideas:

Beetroot hummus

Mung bean dip

French style lentil and quinoa salad

Wheat berry and quinoa tabouleh

Greenwheat FreekehTM kibbeh skewers

Faba bean salad

Keep the fibre up

Avoid putting on the Christmas kilo’s by eating adequate fibre. Research shows that high fibre diets can help manage hunger levels and decrease the desire to eat soon after a meal. Studies show the average effect of increasing dietary fibre intakes may achieve a decreased kilojoule intake which is a vital part of weight control. To increase your fibre intake choose high fibre grains foods and legumes as well as other sources of fibre which include fruit, vegetable and nuts so aim to include a variety of these foods in your diet. To learn more about the additional benefits of dietary fibre check out our fact sheet here.


1. Slavin JL and Green H. Dietary fibre and satiety. Nutrition Bulletin. 2007; 32 (suppl 1), 32–42.
2. Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001; 59:129-139.

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