Marathon Health dietitian Jenna Lawlor shares her expertise with Faye Wheeler for the first article in the Daily Liberal's Christmas Survival Guide series.
Is Christmastime a challenge for people looking to be healthy?
Absolutely it can be difficult with celebrations leading up to Christmas, and they can sometimes extend over two to three months, so it can be difficult for people to stick to some of their goals.
I don't think there should ever be any guilt surrounding Christmas though, it's a time when we should enjoy the wonderful festive foods and enjoy our family's company.
It shouldn't make people feel bad about themselves, we should be able to still enjoy those things. But it is still important to nourish our bodies definitely, and that can sometimes be a little bit difficult over the period so there are some things you can do to help with that.
What are your tips?
So it's important over the Christmas period to try and eat mindfully, so really listening to whether you feel hungry.
Listening to your body cues, trying not to skip meals or compensate in any way because that... doesn't work with your hunger cues.
Being present in the moment, while you are eating, not having distractions around, trying to think about the food you are eating, and being mindful in that sense, and that can help with overeating. Also keeping up your active habits that you already do, staying active and enjoying some fun movement as well, even if that's a game of cricket in the backyard after Christmas lunch.
When we're preparing the Christmas food should we provide a range of options?
Yes, definitely, just trying to have a variety of foods, enjoying the foods that fit within our five groups.
Lean meats, and chicken and fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and then of course your vegetables, your fruits, your dairy, your grains as well.
Enjoying fresh foods as well, thinking of where our food is coming from, sourcing it locally especially this year to help the locals out would be really beneficial.
Also, the less mileage the food has done, it tends to be more wholesome and not as processed.
Should people factor in their alcohol intake as well?
Yes, absolutely, and alcohol can contribute to a significant amount of calories that don't necessarily nourish our bodies.
And when we're trying to metabolise alcohol, we don't metabolise our food as well and that can end up leading to it being stored.
So obviously being mindful again of how much we're drinking and not also of just alcohol, but sometimes our drinks can be quite calorie-dense, other drinks like milky drinks and soft drinks as well, and the way they can make our bodies feel, so listening to that too.
If people are looking for support, what can they do?
We've got some great clinicians here in all aspects of health, so they can absolutely book a private appointment with me at Marathon for some extra support.
Otherwise seeing their GP can also help as well.