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Healthy, Balanced Tips for a Guilt Free Festive Season

Are you at the stage where you find yourself wanting to keep a healthy check in on the foods you eat over the festive season?

It is not surprising that many of us start to feel sticking to healthy habits is all too hard! Why is that? We are constantly surrounded by food and attend many social occasions during the Christmas and Holiday period, and often with the festive spirit is the cheer of, one won’t hurt or just a little bit is ok!

If you are a person that can apply this rule and know when to stop before one becomes many or you are able to increase the exercise to balance those extras, great! You are going to be ok. However, if you find yourself not stopping, then planning for this time is beneficial for you.

The team at 360Me Nutrition have a healthy and balanced approach to good nutrition. We do not believe in restricting foods, but we do believe in good portions, good planning lead to good health, hence we have a few tips for you that will help you enjoy yourself without the restriction for a guilt free festive season!

Keep reading to see our Bonus Recipe for Christmas Cherry and Chocolate Balls below!

Firstly, there’s nothing more comforting than a good old roast for Christmas lunch or dinner.

There’s no reason why you can’t still enjoy this timeless classic with a few healthy adjustments while you are trying to stay on track with your health. After all, it’s about normalising your intake and not restricting it!

  • Choose a lower fat cut of meat even a turkey breast roll is a good option and is quick and easy. No one is left fighting over the breast portion this way, and with the skin removed, it’s a very lean meat option.
  • Limit the roast potatoes to that within your daily allowance (i.e. 2 small chat potatoes or 100g of white or sweet potato roasted).
  • Load up on your green veggies and even your carrots and pumpkin are great to roast.
  • Try to dry roast your vegetables or bake them in the oven with only a spray of oil.
  • Aim to meet your daily 5 serves of vegetables – this will help you to control what you have for dessert as the fibre will assist you in controlling your hunger!
  • Leave the stuffing behind unless you have excluded your potato and breads, its one or the other!

It’s an occasion and dessert and sweets are always on the menu at Christmas, don’t rescript, PLAN!

Desserts can be a big part of Christmas celebrations – unfortunately they don’t contribute much nutrition to our diet, but it’s an occasion! For this, it’s all about enjoyment and portions (if you can check the energy, keep to no more than 200 calories for these foods in your day)! Try one of these swaps to still enjoy a Christmas day (not week) treat, without undoing all your hard work.

  • Make a healthy pavlova – use low fat cream cheese or fraiche (instead of cream) as the filler and top with plenty of fruit such as kiwi, strawberry, berries and passionfruit to add lots of flavour.
  • Hold the sides when it comes to Christmas puddings or cake. You probably don’ t need cream, custard and ice-cream to still enjoy this festive treat!
  • A nice bowl of choc dipped strawberries or cherries can go a long way for a sweet treat and look great on a platter with berries, and it’s easy!
  • Use a small plate or even better serve in ½ cup (100ml) ramekins, this way you can feel like you have more by having a second fill in the day.
  • See our special Christmas cherry and chocolate ball recipe.

Arrive comfortably hungry!

Attending functions or special occasions ready to eat an entire everything on the table is never a good idea. When starting the morning try beginning with a balanced breakfast of low GI carbs such as oats and high protein milk or even a protein dish of scrambled eggs with veg and a side of yoghurt. This can help curb your insane hunger during the day. If the occasion is in the evening, eat regularly throughout your day, have a fibre rich meal or snack before you go like some snow pea, celery, capsicum & cucumber sticks with hummus or 1 scoop plain Greek yoghurt dip (Tatziki) or 40g of nut butter.

The tip is to have smaller portions, this way, you can arrive with your appetite in check, and still be able to enjoy the evening! At this point, choose what you love and not what you think you should have or just like… make every mouthful count. Instead of saying ‘no’ to all those occasional foods, only choose the item or couple of items you really know you will enjoy and let go of the ones you only ‘like’.

For example, I love custard and fruit cake, but I only just like potato salad. So, I will choose to eat a piece of custard and fruitcake after dinner but swap the creamy potato salad for baked vegetables and salad. Allowing yourself to SWAP in and out foods like this will reduce the amount of guilt associated with food decisions and allows you to enjoy your social events!

Be alcohol wise

It is a time of celebration and in Australia that often means bubbles and beers. Remember moderation! If you choose to drink, then opt for a shot of a clear spirit with a soda water/ diet mixer instead of beer & cider. If you’re a wine drinker then slow yourself down by finishing one glass at a time, then chase it with a non-alcoholic drink (like the fruit flavoured sparkling waters).  Always aim for at least 2 alcohol free days per week, your liver needs time to recover too.

See our Dietitian for your Festive Support or New Year’s Recovery

During this time a dietitian can help you to plan your festive menu, create healthy but indulgent snack recipes, help you to plan and prepare your post-holiday recovery. It’s not just about what to eat, it’s also about managing the environment around you.

We understand in your busy festive schedule that seeing a dietitian to get on top of health concerns may not be top of mind right now. However, if you have health care goals you don’t want to slip or a timeline you want to discuss, having a quick chat a dietitian with no expectations of having to “Diet” During Christmas can be arranged. Topics to discuss include:

  • Why do indulgences increase cravings and how can I overcome this?
  • what is a healthy balance while on holiday?
  • how can I plan healthy family meals but keep foods interesting?
  • when should I re-focus my efforts after Christmas and how do I plan to do this?
  • Alcohol, how can this fit into my holiday times and what is the best options for me?
  • How can I go to social events and enjoy the foods, without feeling restricted or on a diet?

Bonus Recipe: Christmas Cherry and Chocolate Balls

Christmas Cherry and Chocolate BallsMakes about 24 servings


  • 1 ½ TBS brandy or Brandy Essence (Optional)
  • 1Tbs Rice Malt Syrup
  • 120g fresh/frozen (Thawed) pitted cherries
  • 80g mixed seeds/nuts
  • 6 pitted mejdool dates
  • 1tbs desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp Almond nut butter
  • 35g cacao powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk unsweetened
  • 1tsp cinnamon spice

Optional: melt some white chocolate to drizzle over the top for an added Christmas effect!


  1. Combine brandy and rice malt syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat, cook and stir for 1 minute until smooth and blended. Add, Cherries and bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until liquid has evaporated (if using frozen) if you are using fresh, pitted cherries, cook until soft, may only take 5 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place dates, seeds, almond butter, coconut milk and half of the cacao powder into a blender or food processor, until well combined. Add cooled cherry brandy mix. Pulse mix, or gently stir in the cherry mix until just combined. Place in the fridge for 30 mins to chill.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using damp hands take approximately a tablespoon of mixture and roll into balls place back into the fridge for another 10-25 mins.
  4. Place coconut and cacao powder on separate plates, and roll half of the mix in cococut and half in cacaor powder, retune to the fridge in an airtight container, and they are ready to serve! If you are taking them to a party, melt and drizzle white chocolate on top for a festive effect (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • Each ball provides: 270Kj (64 Cals) |2g Total Fat| 2g Protein| 6g Total Carb| 3g Fibre:
  • 3 Christmas Balls is a good serve!

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