Simple ways to celebrate a healthy new year

Dr Michael Tam

Dr Michael Tam

As a family doctor, I have observed that the holiday period is a time of overeating. I’m guilty of this myself. For many people, both eating and feeding others too much delicious food is a festive tradition.  

Although far be it from me to deny tradition, healthier eating with family and friends is achievable with a little planning.

Try to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in the holiday feasts and tone down the amount of refined carbohydrates – bread, rice, sweets – and fatty meats.  

Consider avoiding soft drinks and juices, which are very high in sugar, and using chilled sparkling water or soda water instead.

You know, not everyone needs to bring a dish. The typical holiday feast often begins with the worry that there isn’t enough food, and ends with the dread that the guests won’t take away the (ridiculous amount of) leftovers!

Many doctors take leave during the holiday period to spend time with their loved ones.

Understandably, this can be a cause of some concern.

What if I get sick?  To ensure that you and your family have access to medical care during the holiday season, try the following tips:

Firstly, most GP clinics will have a holiday plan, for instance, a deputising service (which includes phone and home-visiting doctors) for urgent health problems after hours, weekends and public holidays.

Ask your regular family doctor and your clinic for these details and keep them on your fridge door.

Secondly, the Australian Government runs the HealthDirect after-hours GP helpline, 1800 022 222, that can provide phone health and medical advice.

You can use their website to find a GP clinic or pharmacy that’s open based on your location, at

Thirdly, if you live near Fairfield Hospital, the General Practice Unit Clinic, 9616 8520, will be open most weekdays in January.  

We are family doctors employed by the Local Health District, and the clinic is in Fairfield Hospital.

One of our roles is to help provide care for you and your family if your regular GP is away.

  • Dr Michael Tam, Staff Specialist, General Practice Unit, Ingham Institute and Fairfield Hospital