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Christmas, New Year’s Eve and every other barbecue, lunch and dinner party under the sun can all lead to significant weight gain over summer. In fact, the average Australian puts on approximately one kilogram over the festive season. But what strategies can you adopt to avoid holiday weight gain?

Maximise time spent outside

There’s no better excuse to get active than a warm, sunny day. Take every opportunity to go for a swim, ride or get outside to play with your kids. Walk around your holiday destination rather than drive – you’ll discover much more that way too.

Limit your alcohol

Alcoholic drinks contain what are known as empty calories, that is, alcohol is energy dense without any nutritional benefits. What’s more, the more you drink, the more you are likely to eat as your discipline slips. A good tactic is to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages and never top up a drink before finishing.

Never go hungry to parties

Particularly parties where there’s likely to be lots of finger food! If you go on an empty stomach, the sheer availability of food is likely to override your body’s regulation of food intake. If it’s a lunch – like Christmas lunch – make sure you sure you have a filling breakfast full of fibre and protein.

Seek out healthier snacks

Although always seemingly the last plate touched, salad is your friend. Eschew the biscuits and chips for veggies and dips and make these your alternative to cheeses, cured meats and other high fat foods.

Control your portions

With so much food available during summer, the temptation is to get a bit of everything onto your plate. That’s fine, but practice a bit of portion control through a smaller plate if available. And if you’re hosting, don’t think you have to eat all the leftovers the next day: figure out what you can freeze or even cook into other meals so that you’re not constantly grazing from the fridge or rushing to eat it all before it spoils.

Cut the festive season short

While holidays often do run well into January – especially if you have kids – try to end the holiday mindset early. By returning to your normal exercise and eating routine as early as possible following New Year’s Day, you’ll cut short the opportunities you give yourself to overindulge.

Schedule your fitness

It’s often easy to let fitness slip by the wayside as the mind puts everything on hold for a few weeks. But in such a short silly season, it’s just as easy to schedule some fitness time in. Make it a goal, for example, to go for a 45-minute walk first thing Christmas morning. Meet a friend for a recovery swim New Year’s Day. Scheduling these times in will make it much easier to maintain your routine and, ultimately, a healthy weight over summer.