How to Make the Most of the Festive Season

6 min reading time
Christmas is just around the corner! We all have different plans and ways we enjoy or celebrate Christmas, yet we all take part in some Christmas-related activities and gatherings and so I think it’s always a good idea to come prepared!
Here are my top 10 strategies to help you sail through the festive season without feeling guilty:

1 Keep a regular meal pattern

Do your best to start the day with a bigger breakfast, ideally cooked, followed by a hearty lunch. This way you will enjoy your main meals when your digestive system is at its peak, and you won’t be as hungry when you sit down to dinner! Your stomach will appreciate this thoughtful approach to meal timing.


2 Avoid eating late at night. 

Christmas gatherings usually start late in the evening and before you get to sit down there are pre-dinner drinks and appetisers… If that’s the case, then have dinner and avoid nibbling and snacking afterwards. You may also like to move your breakfast the next day to a later time to allow for a longer period of fasting – stick to warm water and herbal teas in the morning and start eating when you feel hungry again.


3 Have a small meal before leaving the house. 

Before heading off to a dinner party, even if it’s just a bowl of soup or a handful of nuts, cheese and olives, so that you can manage your energy levels, and appetite, and arrive in a jolly mood! Additionally, consider pre-planning your food and drink choices by reviewing the restaurant menu beforehand. Once at the party, stick to your predetermined plan for a more mindful and enjoyable dining experience.

4 Choose a main course over sharing platters and nibbles

This way, you’ll have a clear idea of your intake, promoting a sense of fullness and satisfaction. Your body will appreciate the simplicity, as processing numerous ingredients simultaneously can tax your digestive system, potentially causing heartburn or leaving you feeling bloated and heavy.


5 Stop eating when you’re starting to feel full

While finishing everything on your plate might please the host, it may not be in your best interest. Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid overexerting your intake. It’s a more mindful approach to honour your body’s cues.


6 Treat desserts or cheeses as a standalone meal

Arrange them on a plate with your preferred crackers and chutneys, and resist the temptation for seconds. If feasible, indulge in dessert 30-60 minutes after your main meal rather than immediately after. This practice can help prevent bloating and that heavy feeling associated with digesting an abundance of ingredients at the same time.


7 Apply the 80/20 approach to healthy eating (or your own version of it).

As a general rule, do the best you can in your ordinary workdays, i.e., eat regular meals and cook at home (this accounts for the 80%). Allow yourself the flexibility to do things differently in the remaining 20%, without being too hard on yourself. Remember, the festive season only occurs for four weeks each year. Schedule your events in the calendar and approach them with preparation. This way, you can strike a balance between enjoying the festivities and maintaining a mindful approach to your well-being.


8 Practise assertiveness and saying ‘no’

Identify your boundaries and priorities, and stand firm in your decisions. Consider if attending every Christmas gathering is necessary or if you can prioritise the ones that matter most to you. Learn to politely decline another helping of food, piece of cake, or glass of wine. Trust your own judgement on when you’ve had enough.


9 Reevaluate how much alcohol is needed to maintain a festive mood

Alcohol can introduce a substantial amount of quickly absorbed sugar into the body, leading to an increased appetite. Additionally, consider the potential effects on how you may feel the next day. This is an opportunity to assert control over your own body and make mindful choices in this aspect of festive celebrations.


10 Most importantly, cherish the moment! 

Christmas extends beyond just food and drink, ideally, it’s a time to be in the company of those you love and feel at ease with. Use the time off from work to engage in activities you typically do not have time for – take a leisurely long long walk, play board games, read a book or watch a movie. My ultimate advice is to be gentle with yourself and embrace a slower pace during this festive season.

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