With the festive season just about in full swing, the Dietitians Association of Australia have released their tips for avoiding the Christmas kilo creep.

“Christmas is just one day a year, but celebrations often stretch over a month or longer,” says Dietitians Assocation of Australia (DAA) spokesperson Lauren McGuckin (an Accredited Practising Dietitian herself). “So weight wise, this is a difficult time of year for many Australians.”

Of course, all those celebrations make it awfully difficult to lose weight — but with a little effort, you can avoid putting any extra weight on.

“Most Australians would agree that Christmas is not the best time to be trying to shed excess kilos,” says Ms McGuckin. “The goal over the festive season should instead be around keeping weight stable by making smart food and drink choices.

“Even an extra 600 kilojoules a day — the amount in a small slice of Christmas cake or a can of full-strength beer — can add up over time and result in a couple of extra kilos come January. Those extra kilos are so much harder to get off than they are to put on, so the trick is to avoid gaining weight in the first place.”

That’s easy enough to say, of course — but how do you actually do it? Here are the DAA’s tips.

How to keep the weight off over Christmas

Eat lighter

Snack on seasonal fruit (such as cherries and watermelons), a small handful of nuts, or low-fat crackers and a salsa dip. Eating a handful of cherries instead of a handful of lollies will save you around 330 kilojoules and 16 grams of added sugar.

Plan, plan, plan

Take a healthy platter to parties or functions. Include lots of bright, colourful vegetable sticks such as carrot, red and green capsicum, green beans and snow peas. Serve with an avocado dip, beetroot dip or yoghurt-based dip.

Drink smarter

If you drink, aim for two glasses of low joule non-alcoholic drinks to every alcoholic drink. Try soda with a squeeze of lime or lemon, or a jug of cold water with cucumber or strawberries and lots of ice for a refreshing change. If you swap a glass of sparkling wine for sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon you will save 470 kilojoules.

Eat mindfully

Try to eat slowly, savour every mouthful and enjoy your food over the festive period. You don’t need to eat everything on offer — be selective and enjoy a small amount. Stop eating once you are comfortably full.

Get the right support

An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can serve as your diet coach, providing you with advice to help you achieve your goals. You can find an APD in your area at daa.asn.au.

Do you pile on the pounds over Christmas? How do you get them off? Share your tips in the comments below!