Monday, 1 December 2014

'Healthy Christmas Alternatives' by the The Nutrition Kitchen

As its the 1st December today and Christmas is only a few weeks away, I've asked my gorgeous friend Jessica Scott, founder of the Nutrition Kitchen, to give us some healthy and delicious Christmas alternatives.

"With the weather getting colder, the lights all lit up and the faint sound of jingle bells on the tip of everyone’s tongue we all know the party season is fast approaching, and already in full swing for a festive few! Despite all the excitement and merriment, the Christmas season is also slightly like running the gauntlet in terms of avoiding sugar and calorie laden treats. Unlike most holidays, which are usually over after a week or two of indulgence, the Christmas party season lasts a whole month! Which can be a real challenge for anyone trying to stay in shape.

However being healthy over Christmas does not meaning hiding in doors and missing all the fun there are ways you can do both enjoy the party season and stay healthy!

It is all about making the right choices when you are out and if you are entertaining providing choices which are delicious and your guests will enjoy without adding to there over burdened system!

Drinks & Cocktails
Sugar laden cocktails and sweet Vin Chaud can be one of the main culprits when it comes to the Christmas weight gain. Instead try going for red wine or vodka and soda with lots of fresh lemon and lime. Or try making your own healthy cocktail jug. Lots of citrus fruits are great for the liver and adding pomegranate seeds makes it look pretty and Christmassy. The low sugar content will keep your waistline happy too!

Canapés
I love canapés no Christmas party is complete without a cocktail sausage! Try to focus on vegetable and protein based canapés. They will help to keep blood sugars balanced and sustain your energy. Avoid the pastry bases and bread heavy canapés. Other bases that can be used are cucumber slices, vegetable rostis, and Chinese spoons or just have skewers of meat, prawns, scallops and vegetable with dips.

Here are some ideas below:

Homemade Mackerel pate or Hummus with vegetable dips
Quails eggs dipped in celery salt
Chicken skewer with avocado, spring onion & lime dip
Tuna and sesame tartar on a cucumber cup
Prawn Asian salad on a Chinese spoon
Beetroot rosti with smoked trout & watercress
Seared beef fillet skewer with salsa verde dip

  
How to avoid rolling from the table to the sofa on the big day!

Tip 1
When filling up your plate really focus on the turkey and the vegetables and put these on your plate first, trying to leave the potatoes and bread sauce till last and try to limit these as much a possible.

Tip 2:
Be a bit more creative with vegetables by doing something a little more adventurous than some boiled peas and carrots. If you can manage this you won’t mind having one less roast potato. Delicious Christmas vegetable can also be the best part!

My favorite Christmas veg:
Braised red cabbage with apples
Carrot & swede mash
Sprouts with chestnut, peas & sage

  
The great thing about braised cabbage and vegetable mash is it can be made in advance and frozen making life even easier on Christmas day. You might even get time for a walk, a perfect way to build up an appetite.

The perfect Christmas treat!

Chocolate Orange Truffles

Instead of reaching for the Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or a handful of “well they are only small” Celebration chocs. Why not whip up a batch of these they are perfect for any sweet craving and will help to keep blood sugars balanced. They are so easy to make and completely guilt free, containing only almond, raw cacao, dates, coconut oil and orange zest. A perfect combination of protein and healthy fat. They contain lots of antioxidants from the cocoa. They also contain only naturally occurring sugar, apart from a tiny amount in the optional coating which is 90% cacao. But if you wanted to avoid using chocolate altogether, when the truffles are rolled, they could be dusted in cinnamon instead, which not only adds another Christmas flavor but also helps to balance blood sugars. The dates provide the sweetness and are fantastic aid for the digestive system as well as being high in nutrients.

Makes approx. 24

Ingredients
100g Ground Almonds
30g Raw Cacao
200g Medjool Dates
2tbsp Almond butter
60g Coconut oil (melted)
Zest of 2 Oranges

For coating
100g dark chocolate 90%, or ground cinnamon
Orange zest.

1) Making sure the stones are removed add the dates and orange zest to a magimix, blend until dates are chopped.
2) Add ground almonds, raw cacao & almond butter, blend until well combined.
3) Keep the motor running and add the melted coconut oil.
4) When the mixture is fully combined and has started to form dough, switch off the magimix and pour contents into a bowl.
5) Roll the mixture into small balls and place on lined baking tray. (About 1 tsp. of mixture per ball)
6) If coating in chocolate place the balls in the fridge to chill.
7) In the meantime place the chocolate in a glass bowl and melt over a pan of water, when completely melted allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
8) Remove truffles from fridge coat each in the melted chocolate and place back on lined baking tray
9) Top the truffles with a bit of orange zest then allow to cool in the fridge.
10) If using cinnamon coating instead of chocolate, when the truffles are rolled dust them in the ground cinnamon before placing them in the fridge.


The truffles are best kept in the fridge they go soft if left out for too long."

The Nutrition Kitchen
www.thenutritionkitchen.co.uk
Twitter: @TheNutKitchen
Instragram: @nutritionkitchen

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