We all love to indulge at Christmas time. Enjoying delicious food with family and friends is a joyous way to celebrate, but come New Year, we can feel a little weighed down if we’ve over-indulged. Not only can this reduce our confidence, but indulging in too much sugary or salty food can make it harder to get back on track to our regular healthy eating habits.
Luckily for us, there are many healthy Christmas food swaps available that actually taste delicious. This Christmas, indulge your taste buds with these healthy alternatives to traditional Christmas foods.
Snacks & Finger Foods
Our tendency to over-indulge on unhealthy foods at Christmas starts with the finger foods.
Swap chips and salted nuts for unsalted nuts/popcorn
While chips and salted nuts are incredibly moreish, they contain saturated fats and pack in a high volume of calories. Instead of missing out, swap in unsalted nuts. They offer a great source of protein and healthy fats. Alternatively, unsalted popcorn is a great high fibre snack too.
Swap crackers and dip for vegetable sticks and hummus
Instead of salty crackers and heavy dips, swap in vegetable sticks with a healthy dip, like hummus. Carrots or celery are great options. In fact, celery has a water content of 95%, making it a low calorie snack that helps keep you hydrated.
Lunch & Dinner Dishes
The main event at Christmas time for many of us is the highly anticipated Christmas lunch. While we tuck in eagerly year after year, many of us tend to feel sluggish afterwards. Fortunately, there are many food swaps you can implement this year to make your Christmas dishes healthier.
Roast Vegetables: swap salt for herbs & choose healthy cooking oils
Who doesn’t love roast vegetables at Christmas? All vegetables, including those high in carbohydrates like potato and sweet potato, provide us with essential nutrients and fibre. To keep our vegetables healthy when roasting them, opt for a healthy oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil. Instead of salting your vegetables, season with your favourite herbs, like oregano, rosemary or paprika. Also, remember to keep the skin on all your vegetables; pumpkin, potato or carrot, as the skin is packed with fibre.
Swap baked ham for seafood
The tradition of eating a baked ham at Christmas has been adopted by many Aussies, despite our warm climate during Christmas. A healthy swap for a salted ham – that does not skimp on flavour – is fresh seafood. The possibilities are endless; salmon, prawns, Moreton Bay Bugs, tuna and barramundi – plus they’re all packed with omega-3 oils. These healthy fats offer excellent benefits to your brain and cardiovascular health. Plus, there are countless recipes to add flavour to seafood dishes.
Swap creamy salad dressings for lighter alternatives
Salads are healthy, right? When we add creamy dressings to our salads, this sadly is not the case. For your potato salads, swap the cream based dressing for plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt nourishes us with calcium and contains essential probiotics, which helps support a healthy gut. Plus, reduced fat Greek yogurt is far less calorie dense than cream.
Swap cranberry sauce for fresh marinades
A roast turkey can taste a little bland without sauce. Instead of buying a cranberry sauce, consider choosing a fresh marinade made from seasonal fruits or vegetables and herbs. Alternatively, try making your cranberry sauce from home so you can control how much sugar you add.
Swap creamy bakes for vibrant salads
A rich and creamy baked dish can set you up to feel sluggish after your Christmas lunch. If you want a lighter option, there are so many delicious, vibrant salad recipes available that are bursting with flavour. Plus, you can get creative – including seasonal fruits and vegetables packs in both flavour and fibre. Check out these Christmas salad recipes for some inspiration.
Swap heavy cakes for healthier alternatives
So many cake recipes are packed with refined sugar. It turns out, for a delicious cake that doesn’t skimp on flavour, there are many low sugar options that are also highly nutritious. Instead of a traditional chocolate cake, perhaps try Jamie Oliver’s epic chocolate and beetroot cake.
Swap rum balls for protein balls
Instead of rum balls, which can be high in refined sugar, choosing protein balls instead reduces your sugar intake while tasting delicious. They’re super easy to make as they have few ingredients and set in the refrigerator. Check out these easy protein ball recipes.
Swap traditional apple pie for a healthy version
With a few tweeks, you can whip up a delicious and healthy apple pie. Instead of a biscuit crumb, make an oat/nut based topping instead. Also, swap your refined sugar for honey or maple syrup. Alternatively, try skipping the sugar altogether if you prefer.
Christmas is the time to enjoy, indulge and celebrate. Instead of tirelessly restricting yourself, enjoy your food this Christmas by swapping the traditional dishes for healthier options. At BodyViva, we care about making our clients the healthiest and happiest version of themselves. When looking after your health, we take a holistic approach. Chat to our friendly team to find out more.