Festive favourites usually include nuts, crisps, chocolates, mince pies, Christmas cake, sausage rolls, pork pies, shortbread and candy canes. And it’s not just the variety, but the quantity, too.
At a recent Wedges and Weights supper club, @RealHannahMills suggested eating what you fancy, but to choose from the best/your favourite stuff. So, if you’re going to eat a cake, for example, eat your Nan’s and not the one you don’t really like. If it’s sweets, tuck into your favourites rather than trying to be good and gorging anyway. The idea is that you’ll feel satisfied and not deprived.
If you are trying to stick to some healthy choices, make sure you eat regular meals. Don’t skip meals or you will snack on bad items more readily. Avoid going out when you’re hungry, and drink plenty of water. Stop eating when you’re full.
If you are hosting your own party you have more control. You can provide fruit platters and healthy options.
Nuts are fabulous. They’re a great source of good fats but can yield high calorie values. Lidl have some amazing flavours in their Deluxe range, including almond nuts flavoured with chilli, wasabi, and salted caramel. Almonds have a better nutritional value than peanuts, for example. If you buy flavoured nuts and snacks, be aware of the ingredients and look for hidden sugars.
What always goes with nuts? Well, when we were kids it was always crisps, and I’m happy to report there are some great products out there that give you that crisp sensation without the fats and starch you may be trying so furtively to avoid.
Two chicks, who you might have seen featured in issue 14, continue to deliver great-tasting crisps. The Kale crisps from Marks and Spencers are also good, while Eat Real’s Quinoa chips are extremely moreish. The Cofresh Indian snack range also includes crunchy lentils and chickpeas. All of these yield a better nutritional package than your standard potato crisp. If you want to make your own, you can use any vegetables, but below you’ll find a recipe for Sweet potato crisps. They are really easy and I have made them in a variety of flavour combinations, including Spanish smoked paprika, Chilli flakes, Garlic and chilli, Oregano and mixed spices, Lemon and pepper, Chives (you could sprinkle on some cheese if you wish) and Fenugreek.
The trick to making these work best is slicing them very thinly. If you can do this with a knife, you’re more successful than me. I prefer to use a mandolin slicer. If you do the same, be very careful as they are fantastically sharp.
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray a roasting tray with avocado oil. Place your sliced sweet potato on the tray, do not let them overlap or they won’t crisp properly. Sprinkle your choice of flavouring on and cook them for 10 minutes, turn them over with tongs and sprinkle more flavouring. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until crisped.
After Eight Mints can usually be found on the dinner table at Christmas. They have been made in Castleford, West Yorkshire, since 1970 and they’re an unchanging constant. But what exactly are they made of? In just two mints (17g weight), you’ll find only 73Kcal, 2.2g fat, but 12.7g carb. Astonishingly, 11.5g of these are sugars, and there is very little protein or fibre.
Is there an alternative? You won’t be able to replicate this exact flavour, but I have found The Protein Works Protein make a possible alternative which has 2g sugar and 10g protein, with 97Kcal, per large truffle. MuscleFood have their own version, too, a peanut praline truffle that yields 70Kcal, 2.9g protein, 1.9g carbs… of which 0.4g is sugar. It’s not loaded with as much protein, but they are certainly acing the low-sugar stakes. You could always make your own truffles, although it is a little more time consuming, you can make them as you like and know exactly what’s in them.
2 scoops Genetic Supplements Chocolate vegan protein, 1/4 cup Kaixen Living Raw Cacao powder, 6 pumps Chocolate TRKD sugar free syrup, 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs, 1/4 cup linseed from GrapeTree and 1/4 cup Alpro unsweetened almond milk. Blend together until well mixed and sticky. Roll 1 large tsp of mix into a nice sized ball between your palms. Dip it in cacao powder, desiccated coconut, almond flour or even chia seeds. Place into a paper case and refrigerate.
If making your own treats seems like your idea of fun and you want to get your family involved, there are some fantastic festive recipes available. Try following @SpamellaB @DeliciousDuo @ TheUrbanKitchen @TheKitchenShe on Twitter, they have some lovely treats on offer.
Ingredients for the pastry include: ¼ cup stevia, 4 cups almond flour and 1/3 cup almond milk. Blend these ingredients together in either a food processor or a Nutri Bullet. Unlike normal pastry, you shouldn’t try to roll this out. It should have formed a ball, which is slightly sticky but not sloppy. Take some of the mix (again not too sloppy but slightly sticky) and press it firmly and evenly into your pie moulds. Cook for 5 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees. Lift them out to cool but do not remove from the moulds.
For the filling, place in your mixer ¼ cup cranberries, ¼ cup sultanas, ¼ cup pitted dates, 3 shots of egg nog sugar free Sweet Bird syrup, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp all spice and 1 tsp cinnamon. Blend all of this together and then spoon equal amounts into the pies and place them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.