How to survive the festive season with grace & dignity

girl canape and drink

For most of us the festive season comes with mixed blessings, with short, cold, dark days that can lower mood and an abundance of tempting food and drink is everywhere you look. This can be a time of year where overindulgence of food and drink can leave you feeling drained and depleted. Here are some tips to survive the festive season


With office parties already underway, this is the time of year when many people over indulge in alcohol. This puts a real burden on your body particularly the liver at an already stressful time of year. Alcohol is a depressant and even though it can temporarily raise your spirits – it will be short lived particularly if overindulging in alcohol makes you do things that you regret…most of us have been there:-

    • Know your limits and stick to it! This actually gets harder the more you drink, so setting a ‘drink budget’ before you start drinking can be helpful. There are also some pretty cool apps now so just add your drinks to the diary each time and then you are aware of how much you are drinking.
    • Spacing is where you have a non-alcoholic drink every other round – therefore cutting your consumption by half! Try sparkling mineral water with freshly squeezed lime as a refreshing spacer.
    • Try adding a mixer to lengthen the drink as this may help you cut down the amount you drink over a period of time. Try Champagne with fresh peach or orange juice topped with sparkling water or a white wine spritzer.
    • Have a healthy well balanced meal before or during the event. Canapé parties can be particularly lethal here. Ensure you have adequate ‘good fats’, quality protein and complex carbohydrate that can slow the absorption of alcohol and protects you from ‘going over’ too quickly. See some recipes here.
    • Abstain completely – if this thought had never crossed your mind you might be in for a pleasant surprise! It is possible to have just as much fun without drinking alcohol and you may feel a sense of achievement that could surprise you. If you are worried about what people will say, just state you are driving or on antibiotics and you won’t be bothered again.
    • If you have overindulged try to repair the damage immediately…and I don’t mean a hair of the dog. You may be tempted to reach for starchy, high carbohydrate foods but try to resist. Instead try a super-green minestrone soup or a healthy fry up.

 woman choosing healthyvunhealthy


As you know sugar comes in many guises and the temptation of sweet foods is even greater in the festive season. The supermarkets know no bounds in the war to entice us through their doors this Christmas. I have been amazed at the array of beautiful looking cakes, biscuits, chocolates not to mention all those pre-prepared packaged food to make your life really easy. Whilst it is lovely to relax and enjoy all those treats, here are some strategies to help you limit the damage.

    • This is a really good time to have a mini sugar detox to retrain your taste buds and limit your cravings. You can do this full throttle by eliminating all sugar, including fruit for a week and see how you go or you can spend a week tapering off and then a week off the sugar. Ensure you have ‘good’ fats, quality protein, complex carbohydrate and nutrient dense foods at each meal. This will really set you up for a great Christmas.
    • Don’t buy in to getting the Christmas stock yet, out of sight = out of mind. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have bought the tin of Quality Street because it was ‘on offer’ only for the box to be in the recycle bin a few days later, never making it till Christmas. Book a Christmas slot and shop on-line to avoid too much temptation around the house.
    • Eat home cooked food as much as you can. Whilst those festive ready meals might look enticing and eating out is almost unavoidable at this time of year food that has been pre-prepared can be full of sugar, trans-fats, additives and colourings. Home cooked food has the advantage of you knowing what has gone into it, leaving you room for some indulgences over the Christmas period.