With Christmas parties, New Years events and summer afternoons spent out and about in the sun, December and January can be the most difficult months to stay on track with our health and fitness. We spoke to resident dietitian, Caitlin Reid about some handy and easy to implement tips that will see you enjoying the festivities without falling off the health wagon.

1. Eat before you go. Arriving at a party or work event ravenous is a surefire way to blow your kilojoule budget. Fill up on a tasty chicken salad, salmon and veg or carrot stick and hummus to keep your hunger pangs at bay.

Nourishing Chicken Bowl

Try this nourishing, chicken bowl:

Grilled chicken, finely chopped red onion, chopped tomatoes, corn, chives, half a cup of white rice, kidney beans topped with light shredded cheese and light yoghurt. Finish it off with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper.

Marinate your chicken with fresh garlic, organic tomato paste and a little chilli for 30 mins to an hour before cooking.

2. Alternate your alcoholic beverage of choice with a sparkling mineral water and fresh lime.

3. Arrive with a plan. Enjoy a few drinks at the party knowing that after a couple you’ll be heading out for a tasty and nutritious evening meal with friends. That way you won’t have too cocktails.

4. If you plan on having a few drinks, select a lower kilojoule bevvy like a spirit mixed with soda water, a low carb beer or wine. Steer clear of the cocktails or spirits mixed with soft drinks or energy drinks, they’re full of sugar. The simpler the drink, the better.

5. Don’t be guided by the price. Just because certain drinks or food options are cheaper, doesn’t mean they are good for you (in fact, sometimes the opposite!) Go for options that include vegetables, avoid fried foods and steer clear of anything with a cream based sauce.

6. When bowls of food are scattered all around the party venue it’s easy to get the munchies! Keep your mingling out of reach of the chip bowl. Food out of sight is also out of mind.

7. Avoid the kilojoule-rich canapés (mini sliders, we’re looking at you!). If you just can’t say no opt for those high in protein that are free of unknown sauces or toppings.

Reid’s most important advice is, “Don’t deny yourself, the festive season is about enjoying yourself, after all. Instead, make mindful food and beverage decisions that meet your own personal needs and don’t succumb to peer pressure or mindless eating.”