Of all points in the calendar year, we are on the verge of the most notorious long stretch for eating, drinking, and all-round merriment. However, with so much food and drink on tap, the season also marks the dawn of the annual tale of overindulgence that cause many to set aside hard-earned and patiently cultivated healthy eating habits and exercise routines. Avoid that end-of-year weight increase and those subsequent January blues this season by adding these helpful ingredients to your menu without compromising your favorite dishes! Read on for 5 Christmas Food Ideas to Keep You Healthy This Holiday!
1. From Brussels With Love
Brussels sprouts aren’t only a traditional Christmas food, they’re also a valuable source of glucosinolates that protect DNA from getting damaged. They can also assist in avoiding the Christmas-Day afternoon slump as the vitamin B they contain plays a vital role in maintaining energy.
Also, Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid and calcium that work to deliver all-round wellness. To trap in and maximize their goodness and benefits, steam-cook them. If it’s the festive feel you’re after then add some nutmeg for a seasonal twist.
2. Sweet Veggies
Swap regular potatoes for their sweeter relatives; sweet potatoes are filled with water and protein that keep you feeling fuller for longer. The fibre they contain also helps to give stable energy, clear away toxins from the body by increasing bowl movement and stop fat from being absorbed. (Try cauliflower mash for a great, low-carb suggestion.)
Simply oven roasting them in extra-virgin olive oil (a monounsaturated ‘good’ fat) with red onions, peppers and salt will both keep you healthier and add lots of flavour. Sweet potatoes cooked this way fabulously complement the above-mentioned Brussels sprouts!
3. Sauce Away!
A rich, heavy, meaty-tasting gravy is an every Christmas table must-have but all the burned meat and animal fats make for a harmful diet. Do not fret at the thought of missing out because there is an alternative way to prepare your gravy so you don’t have to abandon the taste of it.
Make a home-made sauce using fresh vegetable stock, garlic cloves, onions, and mushrooms. Also, you can enhance flavour by making a sauce from sugar-less cranberry sauce, fresh basil pesto, parsley and of course extra-virgin olive oil. Try to dodge the ready-made stock cubes since these are normally high in salt and processed ingredients that aren’t good for you.
4. Lean, Mean & Smart Xmas Pudding
Butter, candied peels, brandy and the fruit traditionally used in this make it complete with waist-expanding sugars. Your body may therefore have a hard time digesting it especially after a heavy Christmas meal.
Creating your own is the best way to avoid the extra calories as you can limit, if not totally remove, the offending bad sugars and alcohol. Use dried currents and raisins (they’re as sweet!) and replace peels with orange zest or lemon juice. Swap your ordinary butter for coconut butter and use organic, bio natural yogurt with ground almonds to create the sauce. You could even mix citrus juice with coconut water – rather than brandy – and add date syrup and coconut oil for a nest of health benefits.
5. Cinnamon Up Your Cravings
If you have a sweet tooth and struggle with cutting out sugar this could be the solution for you. Cinnamon is one of the most refreshing herbs out there because it is filled with powerful antioxidants that help slow ageing while boosting metabolism and digestion. A small amount of this spice brings a good dose of sweetness with it, making it an ideal Christmas food candidate replacement for sugar! This way you avoid gaining weight and other problems from empty, useless calories.