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12 body-happy festive eating ideas for the countdown to Christmas and New Year
party trimmings

Tired of the extra kilos that creep on over the summer break?

Want tips on how to avoid that extra weight and maybe even lose a little more? With foodtalk's festive eating ideas, you can manage your health and weight and still eat delicious foods of the season.

1. freezer ready

Make some easy body-happy party foods to keep in your freezer ready to go. Think ...

  • crustless quiches and fritatta made in mini-muffin pans
  • poached chicken breasts ready to shred for Vietnamese rice paper parcel rolls
  • mini-rissoles
  • spicy bean dip
  • shami kebabs
  • naked pizza squares that make a ready base for any healthy toppings
  • Turkish bread or other rustic breads ready to defrost, slice and then pan cook in a lightly oiled pan. Rub with cut garlic to serve
  • make a few ice cube trays of fruit pieces in water to add to chilled waters at serving time
  • freeze banana, melon and mango flesh ready for super-cool smoothies
  • finish sweetly with mini fruit and yoghurt icy-poles or maple syrup buttermilk terrine.

2. bottled up flavours

Keep bottles of intense flavours handy to add to salads, top pizza or serve as part of an antipasto, tapas plate. Some are a retro and a little salty but you and your guests can choose what flavours to sample:

  • capers
  • pickled onions
  • gherkins
  • olives
  • semi-dried tomatoes and capsicum
  • cans of marinated seasoned legumes (e.g. cannellini beans, chickpeas and black beans)
  • marinated artichokes, capsicum, eggplant and mushrooms.

3. share the foodie love

Snap up bonus discounted double deals on your favourite festive foods in the supermarket but place the extra item in the charity collection bin at the front of your supermarket to make someone else’s Christmas a little extra special this year.

A 3-way benefit: less in your tummy, less spent on a single serve and another person shares in your pleasure.

4. refreshing drinks

  • Dress up unflavoured soda water and plain mineral water (sparkling or still) in a jug with frozen citrus wedges, berries and washed freshly torn mint or coriander leaves. Add frozen lime juice or a few drops of rosewater to flavour.
  • Choose fizzy drinks labelled low joule or low cal. You’ll easily avoid the liquid kilojoules and calories that comes in regular sweet drinks, juices and alcohol. Plus your guests won’t be tempted to drink and drive.
  • Chill water and low joule drinks.
  • Freeze citrus wedges. Make icecubes laden with berries and fresh herbs. Freeze lime juice in ice cube trays ready to add to waters.
  • Wash your finest glasses, for yourself, when guests drop in, and to take to parties.

5. spend up on seasonal fruit

This is the time for delicious stone fruits, melons, and pineapples, and other tropical fruits.

  • Platters of cut fruit are always popular. Look for something away from your standard fruit range such as yellow watermelon, fresh lychees, carambola, and longans.
  • Make melon balls and shapes. Thread onto skewers or serve with toothpicks. Enlist the kids if they’re keen to help in the kitchen.

6. use small wineglasses

Pull out your smallest wineglasses, not because you’re a scrooge but to help you keep tabs on how much you really drink this festive season.

You may be shocked to discover that one bottle of wine ought to pour 7 glasses, and that you need to walk 11 km really fast to burn off the fuel load of a bottle of wine.

7. develop a taste for lights

  • Bring in some light and super-light beers for entertaining and social gatherings. Others won’t know what you’re drinking once it’s poured.
  • Switch to a low joule ginger beer to hit zero fuel in your drink.
  • Don’t like the flavour of light drinks? How much do you like the spare belly fat? And how much work are you prepare to put in to burn that 6-pack of stubbies? Take a guess on how many kilometers you'd need to walk. The answer to this question is at the end.

8. pantry biscuit basics

  • pumpernickel rounds add a depth of flavour and wholegrain goodness that tired old cheese biscuits and rice crackers don't offer
  • keep a bag of grissini (bread sticks) and box of melba toasts handy. They take effort to eat.
  • Dukkha – home made or pre-made – is a handy pantry extra to add to salads or toss on vegies before baking.
  • Create an easy smoky eggplant tapenade spread (will keep for a week) to go with dippers.

9. nuts in shell

Nuts in shells look great in a bowl and they’ll slow everyone's eating pace right down. A much better choice than crispy processed snacks.

Serve nuts beside dried fruits and one quality cheese. Take your time to choose a single amazing cheese rather than several. If you over-cater with many cheese types, they all won't get eaten and the risk is you will over-eat them another day.

10. put on the kettle

  • Get ready for a relaxing cuppa when friends pop in.
  • Stock up with an indulgent assortment of loose tea leaves to brew the old fashioned way in a real teapot. You don't need to serve food when you sit down for a chat with a cuppa.

11. share vegetables around

  • Serve paper-bag bake baby potatoes or freshly cut potato wedges for a delicious hot extra with Greek-style natural yoghurt mixed with fresh coriander or herbs instead of sour cream.
  • Keep your crisper topped with perky bite-sized vegetable such as baby corn, fresh asparagus spears, snow peas, tomatoes – ideal sides for dips made with vegetables, legume and yoghurt dips.

12. lean on seafood 

  • Fresh seafood, tubs of brined mussels, and packs of smoked salmon and trout sit comfortably beside lean, fresh deli meats including turkey and rare beef. Jerky, silverside and ham are meaty options if salt does not concern you and you don't usually have processed meats often.
  • Marinated tofu, legumes formed into falafel or mini-rissoles are good meat alternatives.


Email in your ideas for body-happy festive fare. If you have a recipe to go with it, send it in as well. With your permission, I’ll add your ideas to this website list in the lead up to New Year. Let’s see how many we can build up over the season.

By the way, for that 6-pack of stubbies, did you guess close to a 30-km really fast walk?

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