Eat, drink and be merry – but don’t overdo it!

Stay hydrated this summer. Photo courtesy of

Christmas parties and family festivities can lead to over indulging in the festive season, which is why the team from Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Centre for Population Health has a few simple steps to help people keep the party going while staying healthy.

Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman recommends the following tips:

Drink water – before you head out to a Christmas party or start eating. Research shows it can help control your appetite. Alternate water with an alcoholic drink to avoid overindulging.

• Choose smaller portions – downsizing your plate is a good trick.

Be active every day – it may be the most hectic time of year but there are many ways to stay active. Swap short car trips for walking, take the stairs instead of the elevator while Christmas shopping, or hit the dance floor at your Christmas party.

Choose fruit and vegetables – always look for dishes with lots of fruit and vegetables. If you’re invited to bring a plate, bring a salad or nutritious vegetable dip, such as an avocado or beetroot dip. That way, you’ll know that there is something healthy on the table.

Watch your snacking – eat a small, healthy snack before you go out so you’re not tempted to snack at events. Always look to swap for healthier options like:

• A handful cherries, instead of handful of lollies

• Vegetable sticks and guacamole, instead of chips and dipo

• Unsalted pretzels or nuts instead of shortbread biscuits

• Topping desserts with fresh, frozen or canned fruit in natural juices instead of icing or cream

Resist the cigarettes – avoid smoking relapse over the holiday break. Try to stay away from other smokers, reduce alcoholic drinks and create a smoke-free zone. Get your family and friends’ support before the event to help you stay quit for good.

“Some of the common festive season hazards include food poisoning, alcohol abuse, high stress levels, falls, motor vehicle accidents and dehydration or heat exhaustion,” Ms Newman said.

“To help you have a stress-free holiday, think about eating in moderation and avoid excessive alcohol – choose water or a non-alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated.

“Food safety is also important over this period so be vigilant with food handling – make sure no food is left out in the heat and only keep left-overs for a few days.

“Avoid thawing frozen food on the bench – use a clean refrigerator or microwave – and avoid overstocking your fridge as good airflow around food is essential.”

For more advice on healthy eating and active living, visit: