Celebrate with fun and laughter
Tired of the extra kilos that creep on over the summer break? Fearful that your cholesterol and diabetes will get out of control? Want tips on how to avoid that extra weight and maybe even lose a little more? With our festive eating ideas, you can manage your health and weight and still eat delicious foods of the season.
14 body-happy festive eating ideas for the countdown to Christmas and New Year
- Make some easy body-happy party foods to keep in your freezer ready to go. Think crustless quiches and fritatta made in mini-muffin pans, poached chicken breasts ready to shred for Vietnamese rice-paper parcels, mini-rissoles, spicy bean dip, shami kebabs, and naked pizza squares that make a ready base for any healthy toppings. Have Turkish bread or other rustic breads, ready to defrost, slice and then pan cook in a lightly oiled pan. Rub with cut garlic to serve. A sweet finish might be mini fruit and yoghurt icy-poles (see page 18 of link) or maple syrup buttermilk terrine.
- Keep bottles of capers, pickled onions, gherkins, olives, cans of cannellini beans, chickpeas, and marinated artichokes, capsicum, eggplant and mushrooms. Perfect for adding to salads, topping pizza or serving as part of an antipasto/tapas plate.
- Snap up those bonus discounted double deals on your favourite foods in the supermarket, but place the extra item in the Collection bin at the front of your supermarket to make someone else’s Christmas a little extra special this year. A 3-way benefit – less in your tummy, less spent on a single serve, and another person shares in your pleasure.
- Stock up on low joule drinks and wash your finest glasses, for yourself, when guests drop in, and to take to parties. Choose from unflavoured soda water, plain mineral water (sparkling or still), and fizzy drinks labelled low joule or low cal. You’ll easily avoid the liquid kilojoules and calories that comes in sweet drinks, juices and alcohol. Plus your guests won’t be tempted to drink and drive.
- Spend up on beautiful seasonal fruits. This is the time for delicious stone fruits, melons, and pineapples, and other tropical fruits. Platters of cut fruit are always popular. Look for something away from your standard fruit range such as yellow watermelon, fresh lychees, carambola, and longans. Get the children to make melon balls and fruity skewers if they’re keen to help in the kitchen.
- Make a few trays of fruit pieces in ice-cubes to add to chilled waters at serving time. Whilst you’re thinking of the freezer, buy trays of mangos and freeze the flesh ready for super-cool smoothies.
- Pull out your smallest wineglasses, not because you’re a scrooge, but to help you keep tabs on how much you really drink this festive season. You may be shocked to discover that one bottle of wine ought to pour 7 glasses, and that you need to walk 11km really fast to burn off the fuel load of a bottle of wine.
- Bring in some light and super-light beers for the weekend BBQs. Others won’t know what you’re drinking once it’s poured. Switch to a low joule ginger beer to hit zero fuel in your drink. Ah-hah, I can already hear you saying that you don’t like the flavour of light drinks? So I am asking, how much do you like that spare belly fat? And how much work are you prepare to put in to burn that 6-pack of stubbies? Do you want to guess?
- A bag of grissini (bread sticks), some melba toasts or pumpernickel rounds are a tastier base than tired old cheese biscuits and rice crackers. Dukkha – home made or pre-made – is a handy pantry extra to add to salads or toss on vegies before baking. Create an easy eggplant and olive tapenade (will keep for a week).
- Buy nuts in shells – they look great in a bowl and they’ll slow your eating pace right down. Serve beside dried fruits and one quality cheese. Take your time to choose a single cheese rather than several – if you over-cater and your guests don’t eat all the cheeses, then the risk is you will over-eat them another day.
- Get ready for a great cuppa when friends pop in with an indulgent assortment of loose tea leaves to brew the old fashioned way, in a real teapot. One of my favourites is chocolate tea from T2 (I wish I had shares in that place).
- Share some vegetables around. Paper-bag bake some chat potatoes or freshly cut potato wedges for a delicious hot extra. Serve with Greek-style natural yoghurt mixed with fresh coriander or herbs instead of sour cream.
- Keep your crisper topped with perky bite-sized vegetable such as baby corn, fresh asparagus spears, snow peas, tomatoes – ideal sides for dips.
- Lean, fresh deli meats including turkey, ham and silverside sit well beside fresh seafood, tubs of brined mussels, and packs of smoked salmon and trout.
Email in your ideas for body-happy festive fare. If you have a recipe to go with it, then send that in as well. With your permission, I’ll add your ideas to this website list in the lead up to New Year. Let’s see how many we can build up over the season.
By the way, for that 6-pack of stubbies, did you guess close to a 30-km really fast walk?
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