This Christmas instead of having to punch another hole in your belt buckle, sticking to some handy tips and strategies will prevent that unwanted gain when the New Year rolls around.

On average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period, whilst this may not seem like a lot, unfortunately the weight gained over the period is rarely lost and usually occurs around the trunk, midriff or waist. Increases in these regions are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Here are some tips to avoid adding on those extra kilos:

#1 Don’t go to a party or Christmas function with the hungry bear for a date.

For some of us when we pass that point of hunger and enter starvation the inner hungry bear comes out and usually the options available at Christmas parties are pastries, chips, dips and antipasto platters – with cheeses and meats. Whilst waiting for the main meal to arrive we start to overindulge on these high caloric options, which does satisfy the bears appetite however, it can turn into a pre-hibernation food event! So to prevent that unwanted bear from crashing your Christmas parties, have a nutritional snack one to two hours prior to event, such as a handful of nuts, wholegrain crackers or piece of fruit.

#2 Set a time frame and pace yourself for events.

Organise and prioritise special events from the run of the mill catch ups. This way you can indulge when it calls for celebrating and pace yourself for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Not only is organising events important – setting a deadline for the celebration to finish, such as January the 2nd is a great way to make sure you’re getting back into your normal exercise and healthy eating routine.

#3 Quality Vs Quantity – Quality WINS!

Think quality over quantity such as choosing seafood, quality rich cheese (goat or ricotta), seasonal fruits (cherries, mangoes, lychees) over pastries, chips, cheap crackers, lollies and chocolate mixers. We're more inclined to savour and enjoy these varieties of foods as they are richer in taste and can help to control our portions.

Key tip: Be pickier with food choices and taste foods that you may not have tried before or go for new combinations of seasonal foods, rather than eating one of everything.

#4 Exercise.

A lot of people ditch exercise or sporting commitments over the Christmas period. When this is the perfect time to be focusing on fitness – with no school drop offs and busy work routines! This is a time we can maintain commitments or routines, and your body will thank you for it.

Exercising during the silly season will go a long way in preventing the Christmas weight gains. If on vacation – walking instead of driving is a perfect way to get around by foot – amazing what you may find. Plus, living in Australia we are very lucky to have such beautiful surroundings beaches, mountains, bush walks and parks. So get out with the family and explore.

You could also be selective with Christmas gifts and promote outdoor activities by purchasing gift ideas such as a cricket set, new bike, local swimming pool membership, sporting team membership or gym membership.