Christmas is a common time for people to lose their healthy way and get stuck into all the tasty Christmas treats that abound. Enjoying some of these treats in moderation is absolutely fine however if you overdo it – like many of us do – it will leave you feeling full, bloated and sluggish, and wishing you hadn’t gone for that second helping of pudding. Here are some delicious healthy meal ideas for your Christmas lunch or function that will keep your health on track without missing out on any of the fun.
1. Roast turkey, chicken, lamb, and pork are all healthy choices that are good sources of protein and low in saturated fat. Just make sure you don’t overfill your plate. As a rule of thumb you should be having a portion the size and thickness of your palm, then fill the rest of your plate with salad or veggies. To cut down on calories cut off any fat and skin, and hold off on pork crackling. The skin is where most of the fat is. Grilled or barbequed seafood makes a super healthy Christmas lunch that contains plenty of protein to help prevent you from overeating, along with providing healthy omega-3 fats.
2. Give high calorie sauces and gravies a miss if you want to cut the calories and fat down in your Christmas meal. Instead of making gravy from pan juices, make a lower-fat version with the water from your steamed veggies, or pour the juices from your meat or poultry into a glass and then scoop off the top layer of fat before adding to your gravy. Instead of cranberry sauce, which is high in sugar, try blending up some fresh cranberries with a little balsamic vinegar.
3. Steamed and oven baked veggies are the perfect way to make your Christmas feast a healthier one. Instead of adding butter to your veggies make them more interesting by adding different herbs and spices, a pinch of sea salt, roast garlic, lemon juice, a sprinkling of almond flakes or crumbling some low-fat feta over them. Adding some broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onion, or cauliflower to your meal will give your liver a helping hand.
4. Oven baked root veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, turnips, and jacket potatoes are all healthy choices to go with your Christmas meal. Hold off on butter and full-fat sour cream and instead opt for a brushing of olive or coconut oil, and some Greek yoghurt or low-fat sour cream.
5. Salads are ideal for a hot Aussie Christmas day lunch. Don’t ruin your healthy salads with creamy dressings and mayonnaise, go for healthy dressings like lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Greek yoghurt, and olive oil.
6. People tend to overeat on Christmas day. Resist the urge to pile your plate high and eat until you could burst. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal. Having some protein with vegetables or salad will help fill you up so you won’t want seconds.
7. When it comes to dessert rather than tucking into a big piece of Christmas pudding with custard and ice cream, have a small slice of fruit cake or pudding with some fresh fruit or a dollop of yoghurt. Try my healthy fruit cake recipe below. Try to limit foods like mince tarts that are made with pastry, which are commonly high in calories and contain unhealthy trans-fats.
8. Hold off snacking on salted peanuts, chips, and chocolate covered nuts. You are much better off going for raw mixed nuts, olives, hummus, babaghanous, and guacamole with crackers, oven baked pita chips and veggie sticks, to fill the gap until dinner.
9. Make a big fruit platter for the table for people to snack on. You can serve it with some yoghurt dips. Put bowls of cherries, grapes or berries out for guests to munch on. Make some refreshing fruit sorbet, made from blended frozen fruit. – lovely on a hot Christmas day. Fruit is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene and antioxidants.
10. Make a pitcher of iced tea with sliced fresh fruit, ice and mint. It looks lovely on your Christmas table and it’s a healthy and delicious alternative to high calorie and unhealthy soft drinks. Try Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA with fresh lime and pomegranate juice.