Christmas Day the Healthy Way

You can still have a fabulous Christmas Day without ending the day feeling horribly full and sluggish. With a few simple swaps you can indulge in delicious, healthy foods that won’t leave you requiring an afternoon nap.

 

Swap fatty meats and enjoy a seafood Christmas. The hot Queensland climate makes seafood the perfection Christmas option. Grilled fish and fresh prawns are delicious paired with fresh salads and a cool beverage.  Try out the recipe for Chermoula prawns below. You won’t even think twice about missing out on pork crackling.

Filling your plate with at least half salad is a great way of filling up on the fresh foods that don’t leave you feeling heavy and overfull. Try some interesting salads like our Quinoa Salad or our Beef, beet, lentil and walnut salad.

Swap chips for vegetable sticks. Carrot, beans, celery, snow peas and capsicum are great for dipping in yummy dips. Try our beetroot hommus or tomato salsa for a light and filling snack.

christmas tree fruit

Swap the lolly basket for a fresh fruit tree. A fruit tree makes the perfect table decoration and people of all ages like to munch on fresh fruit. Secure a large, upside down carrot into an apple as the base, before using toothpicks to secure piece of fruit to the tree. Top with a rockmelon or pineapple star.  What a perfectly delicious centre piece for your table!

Fruit doesn’t need to be the boring dessert. The amazing fruits in season at the moment like mangoes, lychees and stonefruit are delicious on their own but you could freeze them and then blend to create a fruity sorbet!  A clever idea is to freeze a yoghurt like Chobani and blend it through the fruit so it is similar to ice-cream but without the fat or sugar!

Swap cream for yoghurt. Pavlova is a common dessert option for many families at Christmas. Replace the cream with a fruity yoghurt or Frûche for a healthier treat that tastes just as delicious!

The ‘TWO BITE’ rule.  If you can’t choose your favourite desserts (or just don’t want to miss out…completely understandable as I love my desserts!) then follow my very simple  rule. Eat enough of each dessert to satisfy between two to three mouthfuls.  If you really think about it, food never tastes better after the third mouthful!  So if you want to eat the desserts because they are just so scrumptious, then go for it – but truly enjoy the taste…don’t just scoff it!

Swap your afternoon nap for a game of cricket or a swim in the pool. Get all the family involved in games so you’ll be having so much fun it won’t even feel like exercise.

Swap sugary drinks for water. Often at Christmas we have already overindulged in the sugar so opt for plain or soda water with a little lemon or lime. Cooling a fruity tea and adding soda water is a great twist on a punch.  You even like to add frozen fruit chunks as decoration and to keep drinks cool.

And here’s a BIG TIP – don’t bring leftovers home (or if you are hosting Christmas, send the leftovers home with others)! Christmas day is only one day and so a few extra nibbles really aren’t a problem.  The problem to the waistline comes from a a week of eating the desserts and rum balls that are leftover!

At the end of the day, Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones – with a treat or two in the middle.  Don’t stress about eating a little extra on the day but make sure you enjoy every moment and every mouthful.

 

From the team at New Life Nutrition, we wish you and your families a

Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year!

Chermoula Prawns

Ingredients

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon ground cumin

3 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5kg green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails left intact

Lemon wedges and tzatziki, to serve

 

Method

  1. Combine onion, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika and turmeric in a large bowl. Stir in oil. Add prawns. Toss until prawns are well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.
  2. ?Preheat a barbecue plate on medium-high heat. Place half the prawns, in a single layer, on barbecue. Spoon over half the marinade. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until prawns turn pink. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining prawns and marinade.
  3. ?Serve warm prawns with lemon wedges and tzatziki.

Source:  www.taste.com.au

 

 

Bean & Beetroot Brownies

  These densely succulent morsels of beaniness (yep, that’s a new word!) come after many requests for ideas for healthy, chocolately sweet treats. You all said it couldn’t be done – but here it is – a healthy brownie! And trust me, even my doubter of a husband who loves proper brownies with all their fatty goodness, said they were delish.  You get all that yumminess, plus it is high in fibre and allergy friendly too! This also comes at a great time as the school year is almost ready to start again (wow, where did the school holidays go…bet the parents out there don’t quite agree with me there). Great for a low sugar treat for everybody but see the hint down the bottom if you want a little more sweetness to start with. ENJOY!

These brownie are DAIRY FREE, EGG FREE, VEGAN, LOW GI, SUGAR FREE & HIGH FIBRE.  Could be GLUTEN FREE if the flour is substituted for a good quality gluten free flour like White Wing’s plain flour.  Could be NUT FREE if nuts are left out.

brownies

What you need…

  • 2 cup/250 g dates
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup/180 g unsweetened applesauce (IXL brand has no added sugar) … OR make your own in your Thermomix by blitzing cored apples with a few tablespoons of water for 10 seconds at speed 8, then cooking at 90º for 8 minutes at speed 4 with the measuring cup off, then blitzing on speed 8 for another 10 seconds)
  • 2 tablespoons/15 g ground flaxseed/linseed (grind prior in Thermomix or food processor)
  • 400 g cooked or canned beans (equiv to 2 x 400g cans, drained) – any variety is fine but I used 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of red kidney beans)
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup/30 g cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup/100 g flour (could use gluten free flour)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup/110 g walnuts or macadamias (optional)

 

How the magic happens…

Doing it the traditional way:

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C
  2. In a food processor, roughly chop nuts, then set aside.beetroot and date
  3. Chop the dates into small pieces (either by hand or in food processor).
  4. Combine black beans, beetroot, dates and applesauce in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Add cacao, ground flaxseed and vanilla. Blend again.
  6. Fold through the flour and bicarb soda. If mixture is too dry, add another few tablespoons of apple sauce.
  7. Gently stir through nuts (leave some aside to put on top)
  8. Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin.  Top with extra nuts if desired.
  9. Bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.

 

Thermomix magic…

  1. Roughly chop the nuts for 3 seconds at speed 4, then set aside.puree
  2. Blend dates with peeled, halved beetroot for 30 seconds at speed 10.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and lid, then add applesauce, flaxseed, beans, vanilla and cacao. Blend for 30 seconds at speed 8, using the spatula to scrape the bowl while processing. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then blend for another 20 seconds at speed 8. Mixture should be thoroughly homogenised.
  4. Add the flour and baking soda, and mix on Reverse at speed 3 for 20 seconds, using the spatula to push the mixture down into the blades. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then mix for another 10 seconds at speed 3. Repeat as necessary until all the flour is mixed in.
  5. Add the chopped nuts and mix for 10 seconds on Reverse at speed 3.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin and bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.

Hint:   If you’re weaning your children (or yourself) off sweet foodS, you may want to substitute 1 cup of a relatively unprocessed sweetener such as coconut sugar or rapadura for 1 cup of the dates.