The Fourth of Advent has flown by, but the highest peak of the festive season has yet to be conquered. Some are already waiting for presents, some are finishing up the last of their work, but we all know what the Christmas season usually has in store for us – plenty of gatherings, accompanied by sumptuous feasts of dishes that our souls have been craving all year.

This, of course, carries with it the risk of overeating. None of us wants to spend the whole holiday season in a figurative “food coma”, but at the end of the evening, when we lie on the couch or in bed with a bloated stomach, we often have to admit that we’ve overindulged again.

We all know what we should and could do to feel better, but to help us enjoy good food and avoid thoughts of a quick diet in January, let’s review the basics before we head to the kitchen. Tips by Fitlap.ee nutritionist Irina Tamme.

Christmas dinner is part of the tradition, but …

According to Irina Tamme, Christmas is too much considered as an eating festival. “People are already afraid of sitting around the table at Christmas and eating and eating,” she says.

Tamme says that, of course, food is a part of culture, and Christmas is certainly about traditional foods, but more could be said about what fun things to do with loved ones at Christmas or what traditions to follow.

“Food is an important part of the Christmas holidays, but not everything has to revolve around it. In fact, not everything on the road needs to be greasy and not everything needs to be prepared in huge quantities,” says Tamme.

According to her, Estonians’ eating habits have changed a little at Christmas. Of course, they still stick to traditional recipes, which are not absent from the Christmas table, but they still want to test their skills and their senses with new and exciting dishes, and give lighter dishes a chance.

“As people’s awareness of healthy eating continues to improve, opportunities are being found to bring more vegetables, fruit and fish to the Christmas table. While traditional Christmas menus include blood sausage, sauerkraut and pork roast, more and more people are finding colourful salads, snacks, fish dishes and fruit platters,” says Tamme, giving examples of versatile Christmas menus.

How to avoid overeating

Tamme says that to avoid overeating at Christmas dinner, for example, she makes sure that no meals are missed during the day and that meals are as evenly spaced as possible. This helps to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, which means she doesn’t sit down to the Christmas table with a big appetite.

“I also make sure I drink enough water during the day and, if possible, exercise,” she adds.

For the sake of good health and later well-being, Tamme recommends always starting with a fresh salad or vegetables at the Christmas dinner table, and only then adding blood sausage, pork roast and other dishes to the plate.

“Whenever possible, I also follow the classic plate rule at Christmas dinner, which is to have a quarter of a plate of potatoes, a quarter of meat, blood sausage or roast and half of a plate of vegetables,” she adds.

In addition, Tamme recommends eating slowly and chewing your food properly to really enjoy it. Then your body will let you know at the right time that your stomach is getting full.

What should your Christmas table look like to keep it healthy?

Of course, the Christmas menu could include traditional dishes: blood sausage, sauerkraut, pork sausage and potatoes. However, pork, for example, does not necessarily have to have a thick fat cover, but you can opt for a less fatty pork tenderloin or tenderloin without rind.

Also, you don’t need to cook the cabbage with a lot of fat, just a little will do. Or make a sauerkraut salad with cabbage instead. And potatoes don’t have to be deep-fried in the oven – boiled potatoes are a great accompaniment to Christmas dishes. 

According to Tamme, more emphasis could be placed on vegetables – either as a salad or baked in the oven, or simply cut up and lifted onto a plate for crunching.

Instead of sweet pies and croissants, you can make a warm baked apple stuffed with curd and nuts or serve a cinnamon-flavoured baked apple with Greek yoghurt.

“In fact, there are many ways to lighten the Christmas table so that you don’t have to feel bad afterwards,” says Tamme.

At Christmas, people often worry that if they have already made a large amount of pork, they will have to eat it all. A good tip is to chop up the cooked meat, put it in a box and freeze it to add to pasta dishes or sauces, for example, or wrap it in a tortilla

Get rid of the Christmas pounds with the January diet? Health does not welcome it

According to the nutritionist, no extreme is good for the body. Much less one that reverses course in a short period of time. So fasting is never a wise choice, and it doesn’t matter if it’s just been Christmas or not.

“We should never put our bodies in a situation where we have to endure a big meal followed by a period of starvation. It’s just not healthy from any point of view,” stresses Tamme.

Rather, it’s best to make sensible choices over the Christmas period and not overdo it with food, so there’s no need to rush into a diet after the holidays to get back to feeling normal. If you really need to lose weight, however, you need to do it safely and at a leisurely pace.

If you want nutritional advice or guidance, you can see Fitlap.ee nutrition and training plans and find other similar service providers on Stebby HERE

How to make better friends with healthy food in the New Year?

For those who are planning to start a healthier diet in the New Year, Tamme recommends thinking about what a so-called healthy diet is, what its purpose is and why they need it.

“People should realise that no food is good or bad, it all depends on the quantity. A balanced, varied diet that meets your needs should accompany you all the time so that you don’t have to start all over again every year. If you don’t know why you need to lose weight and think through why you need to, it’s hard to be consistent, make it a habit and succeed.”

Another important thing, according to Tamme, is to make changes in small steps, because a big change all at once takes you out of your comfort zone in a way that you have to bear it for a couple of weeks and then give up.

“So I certainly don’t recommend that from 2 January you start counting every calorie, going to the gym five times a week and running seven times a week. You need to start slowly and take small steps, because only then can you get used to change, be sustainable and create lifelong habits,” says Tamme.

Enjoy in peace

Tamme’s final advice is not to forget that food doesn’t disappear from the world after Christmas. We can still eat after the holidays, which means that there is no real need to eat at Christmas as if there is no tomorrow.

“You don’t have to try absolutely every dish on the table. You can leave some for the next day. Of course, you can eat more during the holidays, but if you know that it will be followed by a heavy and unwell feeling, is it really necessary. This idea that we overeat at Christmas is just somehow implanted and accepted, but we have the power to change it. We choose what, how and how much we eat,” she stresses.

Fitlap.ee Christmas recipe suggestion for the snack bowl: blood sausage stuffed tortilla rolls (for two)

You will need:

  • 170 g Fitlap Blood sausage (Nõo Lihatööstus)
  • 100 g tortilla wraps
  • 50 g melted cheese (18–19% fat)
  • 30 g cowberry jam (unsweetened) or make your own


  1. chop the sausage and mix with cheese
  2. put the mixture on the tortilla and crush with a fork. Distribute the mixture evenly in the center of the tortilla so that there is a little empty space around the edges, this will make it easier to roll.
  3. roll the tortilla
  4. place the roll into the oven
  5. cook for 25-30 minutes in a 200 degree oven
  6. cut into bite-size pieces and dip into jam

For recipes, nutrition and exercise plans and health advice, you can find support from Stebby HERE

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