Chances are you’re going to eat a lot in the next few weeks. Might as well make it less bad for you, right? Over to BESTFIT’s Dr Emma Kirke OSTM…
In essence, our standard Christmas dinner could be reasonably healthy. Consider the main component, Turkey; it is a rich source of protein. When skinless, it is low fat. Turkey is a fabulous source of vitamin B6 and niacin for energy production. There is some evidence to suggest that regular turkey consumption can help lower cholesterol and stabilise insulin levels. Perhaps, most importantly, the meat contains tryptophan, an amino acid which produces serotonin and plays an important role in boosting the immune system and mood. It is also a source of selenium, which supports the thyroid hormones and your metabolic system. However, the meat can be high in sodium and large amounts of tryptophan can make you sleepy, which could be the reason for the compulsory Sunday sofa snooze, or post-Christmas crash. The remaining components of the dinner are roast veg and potatoes (I usually switch to white sweet potato and leave the skins on!) which are full of nutritional benefits, providing you roast them in a little coconut oil, avocado oil or a fat that can be used at high temperatures. Your festive faves will likely include: nuts, crisps, chocolates, mince pies, Christmas cake, sausage rolls, pork pie, shortbread, candy canes on the tree, and the glutony of eating far too many. Help is at hand. Below, I’ve suggested some healthy alternatives, and even offered five recipes to help you eat better, without missing out.
EMMA’S TOP FIVE FESTIVE SNACK RECIPES:
Homemade After Eight Mint
After Eight Mints are always out and about, but you’ll find 12.7g carb per two mints… astonishingly of which 11.5g are sugars. The Protein Works Protein make an alternative which has 2g sugar and 10g protein with 97Kcal per large truffle, while MuscleFood also have their own version, which is a peanut praline truffle. This yields 70Kcal, 2.9g protein, 1.9g carbs of which 0.4g is sugar. I prefer to make my own and my favourite ingredients include two 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 & 1/4 cup Alpro unsweetened almond milk. Blend together until well mixed and sticky. One large tsp of mix should be rolled into a nice-sized ball between your palms. Dipped in cacao powder, dessicated coconut, almond flour or even chia seeds. Place into a paper case and refrigerate. I add coffee for a change, but you can add whatever takes your fancy.
(Multi allergy friendly)
In your food processor, place ¼ cup stevia, 4 cups almond flour, 1/3 cup almond milk. Blend together. Unlike normal pastry you shouldn’t try to roll this out. Take some of the mix (again not too sloppy but slightly sticky) and press into your pie moulds evenly. Cook for 5 mins on 180 degrees. In your Nutri bullet place 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, 1 tsp cinnamon. Blend together and then spoon equal amounts into the pies and place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Winter spiced Poached Pears
This pudding is so easy in a slow cooker. Peel your pears and place in the slow cooker. Place 4 cinnamon sticks in the slow cooker with a little fruit juice, I used organic unsweetened apple juice. Slice 1 orange and add to the juice. Pop in 3 mulled spice teabags for easy. Cook for a minimum of 6 hrs on low.
Protein Pumpkin Pie
(Multi allergy friendly)
In your food processor, place ¼ cup stevia, 4 cups almond flour, 1/3 cup almond milk. Blend together. Unlike normal pastry you shouldn’t try to roll this out. Take some of the mix (again not too sloppy but slightly sticky)and press into your pie moulds evenly. Cook for 15 mins on 180 degrees. In a bowl mix 1 jar of pumpkin puree, 3 tsps of Steenbergs pumpkin pie spice blend, add 2 scoops of vanilla protein. Add 4 melted leaves of gelatine to help it set. Spoon the pumpkin mix onto the shortbread pastry. Leave it to set in the fridge. For the topping, you need 1 cup of either Coyo or Fage Total Greek yoghurt and mix with two shots of tasted marshmallow sugar free Sweet Bird syrup. Spoon the mix onto the pumpkin and then sprinkle a little of the pumpkin spice for decoration.
EMMA’S TOP FIVE TIPS
1. Eat regular meals, don’t skip or you will snack on bad choice items more readily.
2. Avoid going out hungry, and drink plenty of water.
3. Stop eating when you’e full.
4. If you are hosting your own party you have more control, fruit platters and healthy options can be offered instead.
5. Go big on nuts! They’re a great source of good fats which can yield high calorie values. If you buy flavoured nuts and snacks be aware of the ingredients and look for hidden sugars.