Healthy eating at Christmas

Healthy eating at Christmas. Yes, I know. Can there be such a thing? I think so and it doesn’t mean bah humbug, restrictive or limited either.

Follow me, let’s tuck in and see what’s on offer.

Make it easy and make it fun! What would your ideal Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day meal look like? Have you thought of Antipasti on any of those days? I love this spread especially for Christmas Eve. It’s super easy and you can adapt it to your tastes and dietary needs. Think olives, peppers, roasted vegetables, homous, meats, salads and anything else that makes a nice platter.

Add more veg and side dishes. The traditional English Christmas meal is actually quite healthy. A nut roast has amazing protein potential as does chicken or turkey all of which fills us up. Potatoes give us energy and of course Brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips and peas are great fibre options and rich in vitamins. To make it even healthier, we can make sure that half of the plate’s full of vegetables. Here are some lovely side dish options:

Red cabbage, Christmas coleslaw, apples with sprouts, cauliflower cheese (vegan cheese sauce is a great option) creamed spinach, or even roasted vegetables, courgettes, peppers, aubergines or mixed mushrooms.

Have a normal sized breakfast but add a twist. On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day, instead of simply eating more, how about adding a nice drink or having a refreshing smoothie. Here are a few nice ones:

Spiced apple syrup with clementine & cloves, nutmeg & orange juice, Christmas spiced coffee, jasmine & ginger festive tea, cranberry sea breeze punch, coconut hot chocolate or choc-orange hot chocolate.

Help your gut. We all know that at this time of year there’s a temptation to indulge that bit more. But bloaty, windy, gassy Christmas belly isn’t fun. So, help your digestive system by eating regular sized meals. Also have a warm peppermint or camomile tea after your meal to aid the digestive process.

Healthy puddings. Yes of course we can enjoy a Christmas dessert. But here are a few healthier options:

Instead of cream with Christmas pudding, how about adding Greek yogurt? Rather than having huge bars of chocolate lying around, crumble up different kinds of chocolate and put it in a bowl. How about adding mixed nuts to a bowl of chocolate brazils. Then there’s simplicity at its best, steamed apples or home-made fruit cocktail with yogurt. There’s also the option to have frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.

Make the table special. Take the emphasis off the food by decorating the table. Put name tags out (even for the people that you see every day!) and what about making a nice menu? Eating really is about more than what we put in our mouth, we also eat with our eyes (and nose).

Enjoy without guilt. Eating in my opinion should never have guilt attached to it. What’s the point?! Feeling bad for enjoying food doesn’t make sense. Instead enjoy responsibly! We’re so fortunate to be able to afford and have an abundance of amazing foods around us. So please, enjoying what you know to be good for you. Food can be such a pleasure. Savour it all.

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