They should call Christmas the season of chocolates and naughty treats. Everywhere you turn there’s a box of Ferrero Rochers or a plate of mince pies calling out your name. December is one of the hardest months to stay healthy, but with a little restraint it is possible to enjoy the festive season without missing out.
One great benefits of Christmas in Australia is that the hot weather makes it a lot easier to eat healthy without feeling like you’re missing out. Fresh seafood and delicious salads are perfect for summer weather, and still feel festive and indulgent.
Here’s a few simple ways to keep your Christmas menu healthy:
Switch the alcohol
Definitely enjoy a drink or two over the festive season, but if you’re going to multiple Christmas events then the calories from alcohol quickly add up. Soft drink is almost as bad calorie wise, so why not try some flavoured water spritzers. Simply add your favourite fruits and spice blends to soda water, add plenty of ice and you’ve got yourself a delicious, festive feeling drink. We love this Pomegranate, Ginger and Lime spritzer.
It wouldn’t be an Aussie Christmas without some prawns and bugs, and if you make these the main focus of your Christmas lunch you’ll instantly be enjoying a healthier meal. If you’re asked to bring a dish to a function, try this Prawn, Mango and Avocado salad – it will definitely impress and you know that there will be a healthy (and delicious) option for you.
Watch your sides
You really don’t want to know how many calories are in your favourite creamy potato bake, but you don’t have to miss out. There are healthier versions of almost all of the traditional side dishes even potato bake. There are so many great vegetable based side dishes that still feel indulgent. We love this cinnamon roasted sweet potato as a perfect side. Salads make a perfect healthy alternative – just watch the dressing! Avoid the Caesar salad and try this cranberry, fetta and walnut salad instead.
Watch the snacks
Chips, dips and crackers are quick and easy ways to add unnecessary calories, but there are plenty of healthier alternatives. Fruit platters are perfect for Christmas, with delicious cherries, mangoes and stone fruit in season. Switch the crackers for rice crackers or cut up vegetables, and choose hummus and yoghurt based dips instead of the traditional creamy ones. Try this minty yoghurt dip or healthy Christmas Hummus.
If you are going to indulge in dessert (and why not!) try to stay away from the heavy, sugar filled cakes and slices. The chances are high that it will be a hot day, so why not enjoy a fresh fruit sorbet or a healthy fruit salad. If you want to be a bit cheeky these champagne and strawberry ice blocks are better than a big slice of pav, and definitely feel like a treat!
My final tip is to keep everything in moderation. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy your favourite foods, just watch your serving sizes and pick out what you really want to enjoy, rather than trying to have them all.
Have a great Christmas!
Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her healthy eating tips with us.