Nutritionist Cyndi O'Meara shares tips for guilt-free eating during the holiday season

WHOLESOME: A honey toasted macadamia nut and crispy broccoli salad. Photo: Supplied
WHOLESOME: A honey toasted macadamia nut and crispy broccoli salad. Photo: Supplied

GETTING through Christmas without over-indulging is all about going into the holiday season with the right mindset, one nutritionist says.

Changing Habits author and Queenslander Cyndi O'Meara said no-one should be avoiding Christmas festivities for food-related reasons.

"Rather than approach the festive season with the mindset that you will over indulge, make the decision to change habits before it starts," she said.

"Food will create gut upsets when you over eat, combine and mix too many different foods, particularly if you've spent months eating fresh and unprocessed foods.

"The digestive system simply works hard trying to rid of toxins, causing nausea, headaches and lethargy as some side-effects."

Ms O'Meara said people should use the festive season as a chance to share delicious food with loved ones.

"Choose your ingredients well, quality over quantity, and you'll enjoy flavourful meals and treats that will leave guests content, happy and feeling well," she said.

One of her top tips for party-goers was to be aware of their choices relating to food and alcohol.

"Chose clear or cleaner alcoholic drinks, avoiding sugars," she said.

"Say no to soft drinks, being wise with keeping your nutrient levels high, especially water. Mineral water with fresh lime and your choice of spirit is ideal.

"Whatever drink you choose, stick to it only and remember, every alcoholic drink should be matched with a glass of water."

People were also advised to think twice before they ate, especially when platters of finger food were circling.

"Allow others to go before you to allow just a moment for your mind to intervene your happy belly's thoughts," she said.

"Snack and join in the food festivities, but remember which foods you really enjoy and what foods make you feel good. Food hangovers are as real as alcohol induced ones and your digestive system will create havoc in the days after removing the combination of unfamiliar and overindulgent foods you feed it."

Pre-planning and preparing food in advance could save time, with biscuit dough, tart bases, stuffing mix and other foods able to be made and frozen in the days leading up to Christmas events.

People could also take advantage of the country's abundance of fresh, seasonal summer foods.

"Choose a rainbow of colours with fruit and vegetable ingredients, add boiled eggs to salad topped with crunchy sourdough," Ms O'Meara said.

"Recipes don't need to be complicated to impress guests and a lot of freshness is always welcomed during the festive season."

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