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Healthy Holiday Eating

Posted on December 9, 2011

Christmas is not seen as a good time for anyone on a diet. It doesn’t matter if you are on a diet to lose weight, be healthy or deal with a disease, the range of food available at Christmas is intimidating for dieters.

However, Christmas need not mean the end of your diet or a struggle through January to compensate. There are ways to keep your diet healthy during the Christmas season.

Moderation

Keeping things in moderation is a major key to the Christmas overeating issue. It is easy to say “eat and drink in moderation”, but not quiet so easy to carry out so here are some ideas for moderating what you eat this festive season.

v      Use a smaller plate ~ your mind will consider it a full plate regardless of its size!

v      Where there are choices, take a little of many things rather than lots of one thing. This ensures you are getting a balanced meal and not overloading on a fatty food.

v      For every glass of alcohol or soft drink, have a glass of water. Water fills you up, has no calories or side effects, is cheap and will help wash out the excesses.

v      Help clear the table as soon as everyone finished eating rather than sitting and picking at leftovers.

v      Make your own mixed drinks with real fruit juice instead of canned drink.

v      Don’t be afraid to take things home for later – especially fruit cake as it will keep for ages!

v      Only put out some of the available food so people don’t over serve themselves. More can always come out as required.

Alternatives

Whenever you have control over the food on offer, always look for the healthier alternative to prepare and serve. Likewise, make suggestions to other people who will be feeding you over the holiday period.

This is a good opportunity to make Christmas a bit different this year ~ for instance, try a picnic this year with lots of salads rather than huge roasts or do an activity with friends instead of having a Christmas drinks night.

Some ways to reduce the fat content and increase the nutritional value of Christmas foods are listed below. Which ones apply will depend on the style of occasion you are cooking for.

Vegetables

v      Keep vegetables as close to raw as possible. Don’t overcook them.

v      Consider a salad rather than baked-in-fat vegetables.

v      Use spices and herbs to flavour vegetables, not butter or a creamy sauce

v      Steam vegetables rather than boiling them – healthier and tastier!

v      Consider a spicy potato salad instead of a mayonnaise based potato salad.

v      Avoid bacon crisps and salami in salads.

v      Char grilled vegetables are delicious and a little exotic ~ a platter of mixed grilled vegetables look great and can be done on the BBQ to save kitchen space.

v      Baked potatoes can be topped with yoghurt or low fat cream cheese or low fat sour cream instead of butter.

v      Salad dressings can liven up a salad without adding kilojoules. Try lemon or lime juice, vinegar (many types!) and fresh herbs.

Meat

v      Trim as much fat as possible from meat before cooking

v      Serve some fresh fish or seafood instead of roast red meat.

v      Baste meats with lemon juice (alone or mixed with garlic and herbs.)

v      Where possible, BBQ or grill the meat instead of roasting it, or roast it on a rack.

v      If cooking roast pork, remove all rind and fat prior to cooking. Trimmed of fat, the crackling can be cooked separately – although crackling isn’t particularly good for you anyway!

Desserts

v      Supply a fruit platter or fresh fruit salad ~ a hot Christmas day makes this most appealing!

v      Leave behind the crust of deserts such as cheesecake and flans.

v      Have some fun with a sweet fondue sauce or a yoghurt dip with fresh fruit.

v      Fruit mixed with yoghurt and frozen is a delicious treat. Drizzle it with chocolate and no one will know it’s healthy!

v      Sorbets are a light finish to any meal or can be served at Christmas drinks. Choose a recipe without much sugar in tit, though.

v      Make a cake with pureed fruit in place of some oil ~ yummy!

v      Instead of one egg, try using two egg whites.

v      Use fresh fruit to top pavlovas and cheesecakes rather than chocolate or meringue.

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