Have a Healthy Christmas

Christmas is still Christmas with a few healthy dishes - you'll feel better come New Year.

Healthy Christmas Dishes

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without an ever-present glass in hand and a constant trail of crumbs down your new knitted jumper, right? You can make it healthier and still have a great time with our tips for the festive season and head to a happier New Year.

It would be fine if we were just talking about Christmas Day and Boxing Day but Christmas indulgence starts from the office Christmas party when we give ourselves licence to eat and drink whatever, whenever, and we carry on until the 'detox' starts on January 2. Possibly a mistake...

Here are some simple tips for a healthy Christmas while still having a great time.

SNACK HAPPILY

Have protein-rich snacks on hand throughout the Yuletide festivities - they'll keep you feeling satisfied much longer than refined carbohydrates. Good examples include a handful of nuts and seeds, vegetable sticks and dips, such as hummus, tahini or this delicious avocado and sumac dip. Half an avocado topped with good quality sea salt makes a healthy snack, as do a couple of squares of cheese. Always have a snack before heading out to a drinks party as we tend to reach for junk food once the alcohol starts flowing.

SURVIVE ALL THE PARTIES

At parties, choose your drinks and canap├ęs wisely. Cocktails are the easy road to sugar overload. Stick to red wine or light spirits and soda. Do try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water with lemon or lime to give your liver a break.

Peckish? Pick the veg sticks, olives, sashimi, pigs in blankets, cheese and nuts but steer clear of the mini pastries, tarts and fried foods.

TAKE A BREAK

Balance is all! In between celebrations, go for foods that cleanse and support your metabolism to lighten the overall load. Prioritise fresh salads, like a warm chicken salad and greens, veg-heavy soups like warming pumpkin soup and stews, oily fish and eggs. These contain essential B vitamins, Omega-3 fats, magnesium and other nutrients that help your body deal with excess sugar.

Skip the bread, pies and pastries on your 'good' days.

EAT IN BALANCE

Christmas Day arrives and you just need to remember you'll probably be eating for most of the day so no need to go for broke from breakfast. Savour what is a really special meal, with lots of succulent roast turkey and delicious veggies using a light hand with the stuffing, gravies and cranberry sauce...

A small slice of Christmas pudding is usually enough, then treat yourself to some good-quality dark chocolate - at least 70% cacao - when everyone else is ploughing into their selection boxes.

Unlikely as it seems, if you're hungry later snack on nuts or clementines and drink plenty of filtered water. Finish the day with some peppermint, fennel or ginger tea and you'll be more than ready to repeat and eat on Boxing Day.

Happy Christmas!