Surviving Christmas Day – The Dietitian Way!

Christmas is definitely no time to watch the scales, but how do you avoid waking up on Boxing Day feeling like a turkey yourself?!  By following these simple yet effective tips, you should emerge on the other side still looking and feeling great!

«  Nibbling can be a real problem because it is so easy to get to and can be a real mindless activity during the day.  A little idea is to start the day by putting lots of little nibblies onto a plate, eg. A few cashews, choc almonds, lollies, small slice of Christmas cake. Only go to this plate during the day and once it is all gone then stop. Healthy snack options are crunchy and colourful veggie sticks, fruit pieces or rice cracker with hummus, philly cheese or tomato salsa.

«  Also, don’t sit in front of the platters of Christmas treats, instead sit with your back to the tempting food so you won’t overindulge.

«  Being summer, healthy food is easy to achieve for Christmas day.  Fire up the BBQ, include fresh and delicious salads and all the summer fruits along with the usual Christmas fare.

«  Enjoy the turkey, ham or pork at Christmas lunch, just remove the skin and make sure it’s healthy lean meat!  Fresh seafood (prawns, oysters, grilled fish) is another fabulous choices as it is so tasty.  Aim for a quarter of your plate to be filled with these lean proteins.

«  Eat lots of colourful vegetables and salad (these should fill half your plate) but go easy on the potato. Use sweet potato and mash it up with a sprinkle of cumin for a lower GI alternative.

«  A quarter of your Christmas lunch plate should be filled with some low GI carbohydrates like sweet potato, rice salad, chickpeas or a slice of bread.

«  Eating lots of high fat foods will only make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, to avoid this happening limit the high fat foods and gassy soft drinks.

«  Have a little of everything and I mean LITTLE, a lot of everything is a problem.

«  Instead of loading up your plate, serve up smaller portions, and then go back for more if you still want it. Savour the meal, and you’ll be less likely to overeat – and you might actually enjoy dessert!

«  Go easy on desserts and try to go for the lower fat choices such as fruit salad or pavlova.

«  Slow down on the alcohol.  It’s easy to drink endlessly on a day like Christmas, especially if you’ve got stuff happening all day, but pace yourself and drink lots of water and you’ll be less likely to end up sluggish, bloated and hungover.

«  Keep hydrated on the day, drink lots of water so that you don’t confuse hunger with being thirsty.

Try some of these delicious, fresh and healthy recipes.  I’m sure your guests will be impressed (and grateful for a healthier option!)

Marinated Barbecue Prawns with Summer Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 24 green king prawns, peeled leaving tails intact, deveined
  • 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 fresh red birds eye chilli, halved, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Summer Salad

  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 x 100g pkt baby Asian greens
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 1 x 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp light olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce


  1. Thread 3 prawns onto each skewer and place in a glass or ceramic dish. Combine the vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chilli and five spice in a small bowl, and spoon over prawns. Turn prawn skewers to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to develop the flavours.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the salad, use a vegetable peeler to slice the carrot and cucumber lengthways into thin ribbons. Place in a large bowl. Add the baby Asian greens, bean sprouts, tomato and coriander, and gently toss to combine. Place the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil and fish sauce in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined.
  3. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill on medium-high. Add the prawn skewers and cook for 3 minutes each side or until prawns change colour. Transfer to serving plates.
  4. Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to combine. Divide salad among serving bowls and serve with prawn skewers.


  • You will need to soak 8 bamboo skewers in cold water for 15 minutes for this recipe.


Kiwifruit, Pineapple and Passionfruit Parfait

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 kiwifruit, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1/4 (about 350g) fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) coconut liqueur (such as Malibu)
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) low fat vanilla custard
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) passionfruit pulp
  • 115g savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits), coarsely chopped
  • 25g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut


  • Combine the kiwifruit, pineapple and coconut liqueur in a bowl. Combine the custard and passionfruit in a jug.
  • Divide half the biscuits among four 500ml (2-cup) capacity serving glasses or bowls. Top with half the kiwifruit mixture and half the custard mixture. Continue layering with remaining biscuits, kiwifruit mixture and custard mixture. Cover and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
  • Meanwhile, place the coconut in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until toasted.
  • Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the parfaits to serve

Super Easy Berry Meringue Ice-Cream Cake

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 2 litres      low-fat vanilla ice-cream
  • 500g      fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • 100g      packet (10) pavlova nests


  1. Line a 26cm (base) springform cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Stand ice-cream at room temperature until slightly softened (about 10 to 15 minutes). Place into a large bowl. Add mixed berries.
  3. Add meringue nests to ice-cream and berries, 1 at a time, crushing gently in your hands. Stir until well combined.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place into freezer. Freeze for 6 hours, or overnight, if time permits, until firm. Turn onto a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Remember, it’s not just about the food! There’s more to Christmas than what’s on your plate – make the most of the chance to hang out with family and friends, and keep active! Resist the urge to vege on the couch, your mouth full of trifle: get up, get out and enjoy the day!

From the team at New Life Nutrition…


and we still see you all looking and feeling fabulous in the New Year!