The concept of a healthy Christmas may seem foreign; after all, traditional Christmas foods like roast pork with crackling, plum pudding with brandy butter, Christmas mince pies, shortbread and chocolate are not calorie free.
The concept of Christmas ‘treats’, however, can be easily redefined. When we think of a ‘treat’ we tend to think of it as my dictionary defines it: “a source of special delight or pleasure”. While chocolate, cakes and pastries may fit this description, so do many healthy foods.
Christmas usually comes with a lot of temptations, you should always enjoy food, but there’s many ways to make it just a little bit healthier.
Foods like salmon, prawns, glazed ham on the bone, turkey, a succulent fillet of beef, nuts, berries, cherries, mangoes, melons, figs, fresh asparagus and avocados are a source of special delight and pleasure to most people. They’re foods that are every bit at home on a Christmas menu. Concentrate on these foods and you will have delighted and satisfied guests.
Enjoy small portions of chocolate, cake and dessert as well, but as trimmings to these delicious foods, not as the main players.
HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS MEAL IDEAS
Bowl of mixed berries with crème frâiche or yoghurt
Poached or fresh pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots or apple with waffles or pancakes and Greek yoghurt
Grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus with multigrain toast
A toasted bagel with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and grilled tomatoes
Vegetable frittatas made in muffin tins
Fresh fruit salad with lemon yoghurt and toasted almonds
Bircher muesli topped with mango and blueberries
Fresh asparagus rolls
Green salad with smoked salmon, hard-boiled egg, cold potato slices, semi-dried tomatoes, capers and green beans; dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Sliced ham on the bone with seeded mustard, ciabatta bread, avocado, tomato slices and red onion
Greek salad of cucumber, feta, tomato and olives
Roast vegetable salad made from leftover roast vegetables, feta, cooked green beans and toasted pumpkin seeds
Bruschetta topped with rocket, pear slices, blue cheese and walnuts
Roast turkey, lamb, beef fillet or pork (one is sufficient – too much choice often confuses the enjoyment)
Whole baked salmon – stuff it with lemon slices, dill and almonds and bake in foil on the BBQ or in the oven; serve with a bowl of light sour cream mixed with horseradish
BBQ meats – kebabs, steak, lamb cutlets or lean gourmet sausages
Seafood and fish – grilled, barbecued or baked (keep these simple to enjoy their delicate flavours)
DELICIOUS SIDE DISHES
Medley of roast vegetables; drizzle with honey or maple syrup and balsamic vinegar
Roast vegetable salad – potato, pumpkin, kumara, yams, parsnip, beetroot, baby onions can all be roasted in advance, then cut up and dressed to make a salad; toasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious garnish
Vegetable kebabs – thread pieces of kumara, zucchini, mushrooms, pineapple, red onion and cherry tomatoes onto skewers and barbecue
Corn on the cob – barbecue in its husk or wrapped in foil
Fresh fruit and marshmallow kebabs – kids love these
Pavlova or meringue crushed and mixed with lemon yoghurt, blueberries and walnuts and served in individual glass bowls
Mango jelly garnished with fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
Ice cream Christmas pudding made by mixing brandy-soaked dried fruit in softened light ice cream and then freezing in a pudding bowl
Bowls of roasted nuts, muscatels and figs
Chocolate-covered strawberries – mix of white chocolate, dark chocolate and plain strawberries
Smoked salmon fillet with crackers or ciabatta bread slices, extra-light cream cheese, lemon slices and fresh dill
Hummus or salsa with vegetable sticks
Bread cases filled with a mixture of cottage cheese, feta, spinach and chopped sun-dried tomato
Mini pikelets topped with extra-light cream cheese, smoked salmon slices and capers
Useful Christmas foods that can be bought well in advance
Mixed dried fruit – for Christmas cakes and puddings
Dried apricots, prunes and figs – perfect as a snack or nibble. Great on platters or soaked for a dried fruit compote
Olives – lovely on their own with drinks, on platters or in salads
Sun-dried tomatoes – these are great on their own, on bruschetta or ciabatta bread or added to a salad
Jars of artichokes – these can jazz up a salad or antipasto platter. They are great also on pizza or bruschetta
Capers – these are particularly nice with salmon or in niçoise-type salads. Mixed with a jar of pasta sauce, they make a delicious and simple sauce for pasta
Fillet of beef, racks of lamb and gourmet sausages – pop some in the freezer, they can be easily pulled out if unexpected guests arrive
Gourmet salad dressings – team up with a ready-to-go supermarket salad for an easy meal or accompaniment
Cans or Bottles of smoked oysters or mussels – ideal for nibbles platters
Vacuum-packed bacon and smoked chicken – can be easily used as the basis of pasta and rice dishes, pizzas and salads
Ice cream and frozen yoghurt – keep in the freezer and add to fresh berries for an unbeatable summer dessert
Frozen berries – fresh blueberries are often expensive and hard to come by. A handful of frozen blueberries added to fresh strawberries are both decorative and delicious
As you can see, there is a large amount of food ideas to choose from when planning a healthy Christmas. For further assistance, Hit 100 Dietitian - Sarah, has created 5 tips to help you have a healthy Christmas. You can follow these 5 tips here.
Article sourced from The Australian Healthy Food Guide.