03 Oct 2022

Tips to help you survive Christmas from The Nutri Coach

Debbie Devane nutrition guide


It is that time of the year again, and although very different than our usual Christmas, with no parties to go to or numerous relatives to visit, it can still be lethal to our waistline!

However, you can still have a great time without either depriving yourself or putting on lots of weight.

Remember Christmas Day is only one day. It’s the days leading up to it, and the days between Christmas and New Year that tend to do the most damage.

Don’t try to diet over the festive period. Set a maintenance goal instead.

This is more realistic and much more achievable and will give you the freedom to enjoy yourself without feeling deprived or the need to rebel. As normal routine tends to go out the window over Christmas, make sure you don’t forget about yourself and still take the time to plan your food.

That way, you will still have the right choices in the house and it will be much easier for you to maintain your weight.

This Christmas Survival Guide will give you some ideas for what to avoid and what you can do in order for you to look good and feel healthy as we go into 2021!

Fuel up With a Wholesome Breakfast

As chaotic as Christmas morning can be; skipping breakfast is something that needs to be avoided.

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day as it helps to ‘break’ the overnight ‘fast’.

Incorporating protein and fibre into your breakfast will help you to feel fuller for longer and stop that mid-morning slump where you will often find yourself reaching for a high-calorie snack. (or selection box)!!

Some examples of a high protein and high fibre breakfast include;

Grilled bacon, 2 grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and 1 poached egg and a small slice of wholegrain toast.

Scrambled eggs, avocado and smoked salmon on wholegrain toast.

Porridge oats with flaxseed, blueberries and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating helps to establish a mind-body connection that tells us when we’re hungry and when we’re full. It can also help us to make healthier food choices.

You can do this by asking yourself what you are hungry for e.g. are you eyeing up that last piece of cake because its available or because you’re hungry for it.

Slowing down while eating and enjoying the taste and texture of food allows more time for fullness signals to travel from the stomach to the brain as it can take up to 20 minutes for this to occur.

People who eat quickly will often eat and eat until they are stuffed which is often more than what their body needs and this leads to over consumption of calories and an evening of heartburn and indigestion.

Keep Grazing Under Control

It’s quite easy to get carried away when everywhere you look there seems to be open tins of sweets and selection boxes, remember one sweet can have up to 100 calories and you wouldn’t see yourself popping 4 or 5 while prepping the dinner!

Instead try and stick to fresh fruit and vegetables as they’re full of nutrients and relatively low in calories and are delicious dipped in fresh hummus or nut-butter.

Keep Track of Your Alcohol

If you choose to drink try to make better alcohol choices. Avoid creamy or sweet drinks and watch your serving size… remember a bottle of wine contains six standard servings not four!

Try to drink with food as this will reduce the impact of the sugars on your blood sugars. Drinking alcohol makes it easy to become dehydrated as alcohol decreases the production of anti-diuretic hormone which is used by the body to reabsorb water.

To avoid becoming dehydrated alternate between drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

For a lot of people, the sensation of holding a wine glass is what makes them drink. So instead of asking for another top-up, fill your wine or beer glass with some water or soda water with a splash of lime juice to mimic the feeling of drinking alcohol.

Practice Portion Control

Watch your portion sizes, particularly fast releasing carbs and foods high in unhealthy fats. A good trick here is to use a smaller plate.

When it comes to indulgent high-calorie desserts opt for a smaller serving size which is large enough to get a taste and enjoy the moment. Avoid overdoing it so that you’re not feeling stuffed afterwards.

Focus on Vegetables and protein 

Try having a starter of vegetable soup or a rocket and feta salad, for the main course Focus on filling at least half of your plate with vegetables, one quarter of your plate for your protein of choice and one quarter for your carbohydrate.

If you eat this way and focus on mindful eating you will be less likely to over indulge on dessert.

Follow the 80:20 rule.

To follow the “80:20” rule is a term used on a regular basis. it means to eat healthy nutritious foods 80% of the time and to be able to indulge in pleasurable foods without any guilt 20% of the time.

Staying healthy over Christmas doesn’t have to mean that everything slightly unhealthy is off-limits. It’s important to treat yourself from time to time and Christmas is a perfect opportunity.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

If you’ve been working hard on your diet all year, don’t let a few days set you back a couple of months! try and keep your goals in check! It can be easy to fall into the mind trap that leaves you treating yourself left, right and centre just because it’s the silly season.

Think about how far you’ve come and the motivation that got you there and stay within your boundaries. Over-indulgence can place you 10 steps back in your health and weight-loss journey that will have you dealing with the consequences for weeks or even months to come.

Keep moving!

There is no better way to blow off some cobwebs and achieve your maintenance goals than to Wrap up well and get the whole family out for some fresh air and exercise.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and hope 2021 is good to you all.

If you need help setting your 2021 goals, just pop me a message to arrange an appointment for the new year.

Debbie Devane from The Nutri Coach is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and health & lifestyle coach, Debbie runs her clinic from the Glenard Clinic in Mountmellick and also offers one to one and group online consultations. Debbie is also Nutritionist to the Offaly GAA senior footballers. For more information or to make an appointment email Debbie at

Ph: 086-1720055

Facebook: The Nutri Coach @debbiedevanethenutricoach Instagram: the_nutricoach

For more information go to

To continue reading this article,
please subscribe and support local journalism!

Subscribing will allow you access to all of our premium content and archived articles.


To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.