Healthier Christmas

It's that time of year when you are bombarded with sooo many sweet treats and rich foods, it is hard to escape it! From office treats to supermarkets to social gatherings. Well here are my top tips for a healthier Festive Season and Christmas to save you your health and weight:

1. If temptation is too big, then buy your groceries online so you only buy what you need and don't get caught up in Christmas hype of chocolates and puddings. You can buy online from Countdown and they deliver. 
If you don't do the buying on line then definitely write a list and stick to it! 

2. Add cinnamon to many dishes, this is a great way to get the Christmas flare going but is also a lovely way to sweeten dishes without sugar, especially with the desserts. Think of baked apple with cinnamon and dates instead of sugar. 

3. For desserts try use natural sugars that contain fiber such as fresh fruit e.g. apple and sultana muffins, banana bread, raspberry chocolate crackle. Using fresh, dried or pureed fruits are good way to sweeten dishes and has a sustained release of sugar on your blood levels due to fiber so this keeps your gut happy and your energy levels rather than high peaks. 

4. If you do need to sweeten dishes more than fruit then use sugar free alternatives such as Natvia (stevia based sweetener) or low sugar alternatives such rice syrup or even just a touch of healthier sweeteners like honey or real maple syrup in moderation rather than refined sugar. Healtheries and Well Naturally do sugar free chocolate drops so brilliant if you are wanting to make choc chip cookies or melt for chocolate covered strawberries. 

5. Use yoghurt instead of cream will not only cut your calories by 75% but will keep your digestion healthy. With alot of refined flours and sugars and alcohol, we can tend to bloat more easily and we feel like we put on weight because our pants are tighter but alot of the time we have upset our gut bacteria, causing bloating and fluid retention. So next time you are serving or making a dessert, perhaps instead of cream, have as an option or serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or use yoghurt in the trifle. 

6. Add fruit and vegetables to your cheese board. This is a great way to add in some fiber and nutrients for example slice cucumber rounds are a great base to put hummus and slice of brie cheese on instead of too many crackers. Eating vegetables with salty things like crackers and cheese can be hydrating for the body and maintains a healthy potassium levels compared to sodium which is good for kidney health to regulate fluid retention and blood pressure. So eat your veges or strawberries with cheese to reduce fluid retention! 

7. Make your own custard if you can. Most are full of sugar but if you buy for only a couple of dollars (way cheaper) the Edmonds custard powder, you can do it in the microwave so quickly and you can use almond milk instead of cows milk for even a lower sugar and calorie alternative. You just need to add cinnamon and rice syrup or Natvia for abit of sweetening. Buttermilk is another healthier alternative. Check out some of Natvias recipes they are amazing! 

8. Get creative, make some new recipes this season using fresh ingredients rather than buying everything just for the sake of convenience. Especially with the lovely fruits and vegetables coming into season. Such as adding strawberries to salads, check out some of New Worlds Christmas recipes 

9. Instead of juice make your own wonderful ice teas to cool you down this summer using the Red Seal Hot or Cold Tea selections. Found at most supermarkets. These are amazing and has great flavour. Add mint or lemon slices and it will look amazing at any social gathering and a great way to reduce calories from drinks (on average we get 20% of our calorie intake from fluids). 

10. Add more spices or herbs to flavour dishes instead of pre made sauces, dressings or flavour packets. Get a collection of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, cumin, pepper, along with dried herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil or there is some great mixes from Masterfoods. And of course don't forget your fresh herbs like parsley, mint, coriander or basil.They are brilliant to 'awaken' a salad or dish and contain many vitamins and minerals to boost the overall nutrition content of the meal. 

So hopefully you have found these helpful. Just remember make most things rather than buying, unless its a great product. Aim to keep digestive health happy and you will keep yourself feeling energized and great! Ready for summer. 

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