Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Healthy Christmas food

December 9, 2009 by Eco  

Falling asleep in front of the telly, feeling bloated and generally over-indulged after Christmas dinner is never a good look (or feel for that matter). Equally, it’s no fun to have to say no to everything that’s on offer. Here is something I’ve just written for the latest Jiva newsletter, it will give you some ideas on how you can introduce some healthier options into any Christmas party or dinner, whether you are hosting or bringing along a dish.

  • The nibbles: Replace salt and fat laden crisps with raw vegetable batons and home made humus of beetroot dip (see below) and bowls of raw nuts
  • Main course: Turkey is good protein source containing all the essential amino acids, in fact it’s a great source of tryptophan which we need to make the mood moderating neurotransmitter serotonin. Traditional roasting however involves fat and oils heated to a high temperature, which can produce damaged fats and of course high levels of saturated fat. If turkey is already on the menu, then chose the light meat, as it’s lower in saturated fats and avoid the skin. If you are in charge of the cooking, then choose a turkey crown, which will require less roasting and contains a higher proportion of the white meat. It goes without saying, but make sure it’s organic! Or you can break with tradition and have a baked whole fish or lovely nut roast.
  • All the trimmings: You can really improve the healthiness of a traditional Christmas meal by adding some extra vegetable dishes to the table and cutting out or down on the roast potatoes. Leafy dark greens like kale are in season and delicious steamed. Beetroots are packed full of antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids, folic acid, betaine and manganese. Don’t forget to use the beet tops as well, they work well steamed. So if you are asked to bring something to a Christmas dinner, make sure it’s a couple of vegetable dishes.
  • Something saucy: Traditional Christmas dinner sauces are laden with unhealthy fats and sugars, but if you cut these out and replace with sauces based on good oils, you’ll make a huge difference. There is a lovely recipe for raw cranberry relish on Elana’s Pantry. Or try these ideas:
    • Pommegranate dressing: seeds from half a large pomegranate, pinch of sea salt, half to one clove of garlic (depending on your taste), olive oil (approx 6 tablespoons). Mix together in the blender, goes a lovely pink colour and tastes delicious.
    • Beetroot sauce: peel then dice or grate medium raw beetroot, add a clove of garlic, cup of raw sunflower seeds (even better if you soak overnight), juice of half a lemon, pinch of sea salt, ½ teaspoon of Manuka honey to taste then blend together. This can be used as a dip aswell
  • Drink is always going to be a stumbling block for a healthy Christmas, but one thing you can do is make plenty of delicious non alcoholic drinks available. Make up a big jug of fresh juice (include some vegetables such as cucumber, carrot, celery and beetroot as well as fruit). Add a slice of lemon or lime or a little fresh fruit juice to sparkling water. Try this almond nog recipe adapted from the Sunday Times: 500ml almond milk, vanilla pod, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Warm the milk with the vanilla pod, but don’t let it boil. Remove the pod, then blend milk with other ingredients and serve. If you are serving it from a jug, then you can pop the vanilla pod back in to retain some more flavour. Do make sure you keep hydrated, with plenty of water and herbal teas.
  • Remember: not to over eat, just try a slightly smaller bit of everything, chew it thoroughly and enjoy whatever you are eating!

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance, so just remember these two things:

  1. Have a little bit of what you fancy just don’t over eat.
  2. Make sure there’s more of the good stuff than the not-so-good-stuff

If you are out socialising a lot and unable to eat the foods you want to eat, then at least make sure you have something really nutritious everyday to help counterbalance, like a green juice, green smoothie and seaweeds as these can really help to draw toxins out of the body. Failing that, there’s always the 21 day Nutritional Detox Programme in the New Year…..details here! Angela has a practice in Notting Hill where she offers nutrition consultations. She looks at functional imbalance in the body and works with clients to develop bespoke nutrition programmes. Please contact her on 07775 582 332 ange@fabulousnutrition.co.uk or www.fabulousnutrition.co.uk to find out more.

Comments are closed.