Healthy Eating Over The Holidays
What's your recipe for a delicious Christmas? Although it’s widely considered a time of over-indulgence and consumption, staying on track with healthy eating and exercise at Christmas is absolutely possible, and with the right recipes at hand, can even be more enjoyable.
This year, with most of us likely to be spending more time at home than usual, the temptation to snack on sweets and party treats (not to mention takeaway food) is even greater.
Luckily, thanks to our programmes at Bodyslims, we’ve gathered some failsafe tips and tricks (plus some deliciously healthy holiday recipes) along the way. Read on to discover all of our top healthy holiday eating tips.
How can I stay healthy over Christmas?
It may seem a little daunting at first, with an army of snacks, chocolates, canapés and more headed your way, but staying healthy at Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding your favourite holiday treats altogether. A dash of moderation, dollop of motivation and pinch of preparation are all you need to make healthy holiday eating as easy as pie.
Everyone’s Christmas is different, so everyone’s healthy holiday recipe will naturally be different, too. Pick the tips you think will work best for you, and commit to them; with a little focus, staying on track this holiday season will be a cinch.
Opt for healthy Christmas breakfasts
Stuffing, gravy, roast potatoes: they can all be extremely difficult to resist. If you plan on indulging in one or two roast Christmas dinners over the holidays, balance it out by choosing a healthy breakfast every day.
Foregoing the Christmas day fry-up can work wonders for balancing out your calorie intake on the day itself. Opt instead for a healthy holiday recipe of Baked Salmon and Eggs; this delicious meal is filling enough to keep you going all morning, so you’ll manage to resist having one too many canapés, too.
Baked Salmon & Eggs
Time: 20 minutes
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Slice off the top of each roll, then gently remove the bread inside until there is a hole large enough to accommodate a slice of salmon and an egg. Arrange the rolls on a baking sheet, reserving the tops. If you like, whizz the middles into crumbs and keep in the freezer for another recipe.
Brush the inside and edges of the rolls with a little melted butter, then arrange a slice of salmon inside each one. Crack an egg into each and season. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Scatter with snipped chives. Toast the tops, brush with the remaining butter, then cut into soldiers and use to dip into eggs.
Cut down on sides
If you’re worried about over-indulging during dinnertime over the holiday season, a quick and simple way of ensuring you don’t overdo it is to cut down on sides. Have one or two roast potatoes instead of four, or just one tablespoon of stuffing instead of a few. You won’t have to miss out on any Christmas favourites, but you won’t have to sacrifice any weight-loss progress you’ve been making either.
If you’re prone to getting extra takeaway dinners over the holidays, skip the sides and stick to high-protein, veggie-packed main courses.
But add extra veggies
For Christmas dinner, and any meal over the holidays, be sure to add extra veggies: they’re not only flavourful and satisfying, they’ll help provide a much-needed vitamin boost in the depths of winter, too.
One of the simplest but most effective healthy holiday eating tips is to separate out your veggies when roasting; too much goose fat, butter and oil will add plenty of sneaky calories to a seemingly innocent carrot.
Instead, roast your vegetables in their own dish with a light drizzle of olive oil and plenty of seasoning – delicious!
Food intolerance? Homemade is best
If you struggle with a food intolerance, be it gluten or lactose, making meals from scratch yourself is your best bet for staying on track this Christmas.
Although it may be tempting to throw caution to the wind, consuming food ingredients that you don’t tolerate can not only make you sick, it can derail your healthy eating efforts, too.
Swapping out ingredients for their allergen-free versions in recipes means you can easily recreate your favourite holiday foods at home, and enjoy them minus the suffering that comes after.
Make your own healthy holiday snack recipes
Tiny but utterly tempting, party food bites can seem harmless but are often packed with unhealthy ingredients. Luckily, finding healthy Christmas party food ideas is easy!
We absolutely love this healthy holiday snack recipe: a high-protein canapé made with eggs and chorizo. They’re filling, perfect for clean eating and packed full of good ingredients.
Chorizo cocktail eggs
Time: 25 minutes
Put the eggs into water and bring to boil. Since then, boil the eggs for 7 mins, drain and put into iced water to cool. Carefully remove the shells, then cut in half lengthwise.
Scoop the yolks into a bowl and mash with the yogurt, mustard and parsley. Spoon the mixture back into the eggs.
Grease a non-stick pan with 5 sprays of oil. Fry the chorizo gently in a non-stick pan until the oil runs out and the chorizo is crisp. Scatter over the eggs when cool. Will keep in the fridge for up to one day.
Watch your liquid calories
There are plenty of reasons to keep your alcohol intake low over the holiday season (and all year round), and calories are certainly one of them. Many well-loved holiday tipples are packed full of empty calories, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
If you want a drink of the holiday season, keep intake to a minimum and opt for low calories options, like a glass of white wine with dinner.
Make healthier takeaway dishes at home
So many of our favourite takeaway dishes can be easily made at home, minus the hidden fat, salt and sugar.
Bake breaded cod and hand-cut potato wedges instead of fish and chips
Whip up some bunless burgers with a side of homemade sweet potato fries
Make your own chicken tikka using natural yoghurt instead of cream
Create a healthier pizza at home by adding half the cheese, but double the veggies. If you really want to get creative, try a pizza base made from quinoa.
Diabetic holiday recipes
There’s no reason why diabetics can’t enjoy the same healthy holiday recipes as non-diabetics; a few tweaks mean most delicious Christmas dishes can be made suitable.
For starters, portion control is a useful and important tool for diabetics over the holidays. Indulging in roast dinners and even dessert is absolutely fine, once you don’t overdo it.
Be wary of hidden sugars, too. Are the roasted carrots glazed in honey? Opting for home-cooked meals over takeaways or restaurant food will give you great control over your sugar intake. A few adjustments to recipes makes almost any dish suitable for diabetics at Christmas. Swap cream for natural yoghurt, or goose fat for olive oil.
Finally, if you are diabetic, it’s important to avoid consuming too much alcohol over the holidays as well as throughout the year.
The Christmas holidays are a time full of joy and wonder, but can be a difficult time for many, too. This year is no exception, and likely to be more of a trying period for many of us.
The support of other like-minded people who can guide us through good and bad times alike are often exactly what’s needed to stay motivated throughout the holiday season. Not convinced? Just take a look at some the success stories who made it through the holiday season.
If you haven’t already, joining Body Slims will equip you with the knowledge and support you need to lose weight and stay healthy. Sign up to our newsletter today for advice, a bit of fun and all the healthy holiday eating tips you’ll need.