As a weight loss coach a common question I am asked at this time of year goes something like this: "Please help me ‘Coach David’, I don't want my weight loss program de-railed over Christmas but what can I eat?"

"Never fear, Coach David is here to bring you joy and festive cheer"

Here are a few simple tips that will help you to come through the forthcoming festivities hopefully unscathed and without feeling too deprived.


We all do of course - So here's how to do it without causing unnecessary damage to your waistline.

a) Turkey Dinner:

Eat grilled turkey lightly brushed with olive oil instead of roast turkey. As an alternative why not eat grilled chicken which is lower in fat.

Note: Remember to remove the skin before you eat the meat.

b) Roast Potatoes:

Instead of roasting the potatoes, partially boil them and then either dry roast them - Yes put them in the oven with NO fat or oil or alternatively lightly brush with olive oil before placing them in the oven to roast.

c) Vegetables:

Enjoy 'plenty' of vegetables of your choice either lightly boiled or preferably steamed. If you are really brave why not try a few raw vegetables along with the cooked ones.


Remember there's no need to add butter or salt to vegetables.

d) Cranberry Sauce

What would Turkey be without the traditional Cranberry Sauce? Why not try out this special fresh Cranberry sauce recipe?

Note: This recipe is straight from the kitchen of my favorite cook and friend - Josette Gigon. Josette has a recipe column in my weekly ezine newsletter.

'CRANBERRY SAUCE DELUX' Makes 1.5 cups (adjust ingredients for other quantities)


- 1 cup fresh cranberries

- 1/4 cup of orange juice

- 1/4 cup of honey

- 1/4 cup of grated rind of orange

- 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts

- 1/4 cup of chopped dried mix fruit

- A Splash of Sherry or Brandy to taste


- Wash the cranberries

- Add ingredients to pan

- Cook on low heat for approximately 5 minutes or until Ingredients are soft

- Remove from heat

- Beat until smooth before adding the Sherry or Brandy

- Allow to cool at room temperature before refrigerating.

Note: Adjust orange juice if needed for consistency.

There you have it, a simple tasty healthy homemade ‘Cranberry Sauce’ recipe.

e) Stuffing:

Hey it's Christmas, just go easy and take a small portion.

f) Gravy :

Here’s another great recipe from ‘Josette’s Kitchen’:

Gravy (serves 4):


- Half an onion (finely chopped)

- Half a tablespoon of olive oil

- Half a teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme

- Half a teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley

- One vegetable stock cube

- Half a pint of boiling vegetable water

- One tablespoon of gravy powder

- A little cold water

- Black pepper or seasoning of your choice

Note: Where gravy powder is not available use the deglaze from the roasting pan (juices after fat removed) and thicken with a little cornflower if required. Or alternatively simmer until reduced.


- Lightly fry the chopped onion in olive oil until soft.

- Using a pan mix the stock cube with the boiling vegetable water

- Reduce heat and add the fried onion, parsley and thyme.

- Mix the gravy power with a little cold water before stirring into the stock to thicken.

- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for a few minutes.

- Add seasoning of your choice to taste


Hey - I don't want to be labeled Mr. Scrooge. Come on folks the festive season is a time to celebrate. But there's no need to drink yourself under the table is there?

Most people like to get into the 'spirit' of things and enjoy a glass or two of their favorite tipple especially at this time of year and why not? So take a look at these simple tips to help you on the way:

a) Drink in moderation. A small glass of white wine, a glass of champagne, a small rum and coke are around 100-calories each. Why not allow yourself 2 drinks a day during the festivities? That’s unless you have to drive a vehicle or it is inappropriate due to any medication you may take.

b) Alternate your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.

c) Add carbonated (sparkling) mineral water to your wine to make a long drink.

d) Enjoy your alcoholic drinks at meal times only. At other times keep to low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or better still water.

e) I suggest staying away from beers, they are higher in calories than the alternatives above and they bloat your stomach. If you enjoy a beer how about keeping to one small glass a day?


You may be surprised to hear that I recommend nuts as a healthy snack to my clients. “Aren’t nuts high in fat I hear you say?” Actually there are ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’. In fact good fats are ‘essential’ for you, that’s why they are called ‘Essential Fats’! Nuts in moderation are fine.

As is ‘Olive Oil’ – You can’t beat it! I recommend a moderate consumption of olive oil e.g. a tablespoon a day to my clients.

While I’m on the subject of ‘Essential Fats’, I also recommend at least 2 servings of oily fish each week e.g. herring, tuna, sardines and mackerel.

Remember ‘Essential Fats’ are ‘Good’ for you and will ‘help’ not hinder your weight loss goal!


Moderation is the key here. Look, tell someone they can't have this or they can't have that and what happens? Exactly! Just keep it sensible e.g. the occasional piece of chocolate or piece of candy during the celebrations.

Try this - As an alternative to chocolate or candy, eat a date or a fig or a piece of fresh fruit.


Christmas is not an excuse not to exercise now is it? There is one form of exercise that in my opinion beats all others because it burns calories fast, virtually anyone can do it anywhere, it’s enjoyable, healthy and it’s FREE! All you do is put one foot in front of the other and go for a brisk 20 – 30+ minute walk every day. Why not encourage the whole family to go walking together? It’s a great way to relax, reduce stress, and spend some fun, quality time with your loved ones.... and of course to burn up some calories too.


The occasional ‘forbidden fruit’ isn’t going to undo your whole dietary and exercise program. Just have a ‘little’, take just a small portion. You could always do some extra walking to counter the effects!

Why not prepare your own healthy low fat snacks and have them with you in case there’s only sugary, fatty stuff on offer. Just think ahead a little.

Also remember you don’t have to fill your plate to overflowing. Why not take your own ‘small’ plate and just take a sensible amount, take your time, eat slowly, enjoy and then finish. There really is no need to go back for more!


My final tip is one that’s easy to forget at Christmas when you are standing around at a party: Never eat standing up! Sit down, R-E-L-A-X and eat S-L-O-W-L-Y.

It is much better for your digestive system if you are relaxed and seated. Also, eat slowly and really chew every mouthful, you know - just like a cow does but with your mouth shut so that you are not gulping down great mouthfuls of air– get the picture?

Merry Christmas… Bon appetite!

David Downer (Coach David)


The information presented in this article is for general information only. The author is not medically qualified. It is the opinion of the author and may differ from the opinion of others. The information does not constitute advice or recommendation. Neither the author nor publisher will take responsibility for any decision you make as a result of reading this article. Before you implement anything you have read, it is your responsibility to first seek any advice that may be appropriate from a qualified medical, dietary, health or exercise professional.

David Downer may be contacted at . Click here to view more of their articles. David has over 25 years experience as a health and exercise professional and is co-owner of Register for your FREE Weight Loss Mini-Course and Newsletter by visiting:

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