Highlighting Christmas dinner spreads which can be enjoyed without having to worry about putting a dent in your fitness goals.
As the festive season beckons, the thought of sticking to a healthy meal plan can be a daunting one. Be it a family dinner, festive party or office holiday gathering, the temptation to loosen our eating standards lurk around every corner, especially since we only get to enjoy these dishes once a year.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to totally derail from your fitness plans, especially if you take control and include these healthy yet delicious spreads as part of your Christmas dinner ideas for 2019. Cue the sleigh bells!
Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken
Inspired by Paleo eating, the cranberry balsamic roasted chicken combines a delicious balsamic chicken marinade, cranberries and fresh thyme to create a gorgeous Christmas spread that is not only nutritious, but bursting with flavour.
Unlike most chicken dishes, this one in particular is best eaten with the skin on, as it actually contains heart-healthy unsaturated fat, which is good for those intending to watch their cholesterol. It also contains vitamin K, an often underlooked vitamin requirement which plays a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism and regulating blood calcium levels. The cranberries, which also makes the dish complete, are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, fibres and the metabolism-boosting mineral, manganese. Wipe that drool off your face, people! Christmas is only a blink of an eye away!
Lemon Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes
Coated in a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, garlic, and maple syrup, these roasted potatoes pack a nutritious flavour punch that boasts a variety of health properties with every crisp bite.
The use of olive oil, in particular, provides your body with a strong immune resistance against a number of chronic diseases such as stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Olive oil is also known to be rich in antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, basil and parsley contain polyphenols which are plant compounds that provide a potent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to fight against chronic diseases. These herbs, combined with garlic, provide colour, aroma and freshness to this Christmas spread that is not commonly seen in other meals. Reason enough to eat your vegetables?
Shaved Brussels Sprout and Chestnut Salad
A staple of festive dinner spreads, yet divides opinion when it comes to taste, Brussels sprouts are loaded with an abundance of health benefits which include cancer-fighting properties, high-fibre content, and richness in nutrients such as ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and manganese.
Served fresh and combined with other ingredients such as roasted chestnuts and blue cheese, this salad packs a loaded concoction of flavours in your mouth, which include salty, sweet, bitter and savoury. Additionally, the roasted chestnuts promote digestive health and increased brain function, while the blue cheese improves bone health and aids in preventing osteoporosis. Go raw or go home!
Sausage, Apple and Wild Rice Stuffing
Using a combination of ingredients which are bound to go well with a roasted bird of your preference, this gluten-free stuffing mix provides an abundance of nutritional value such as folate, which is especially important for pregnant women, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium.
As a healthier alternative, opt to use cauliflower rice instead of wild rice as it contains less carbohydrates. Time to stuff (pun intended) yourself silly!
Chocolate Christmas Pudding
If you thought we were gonna forego the Christmas pudding, you thought wrong. It is, after all, a dessert steeped in tradition, with “secret recipes” being passed down from generations. Throughout the years, the dessert has also evolved, with healthier versions of this Christmas staple appealing to the health-conscious (including gluten-free options!).
And although this Christmas dinner spread may not be especially brimming with healthy goodness, it does contain healthy ingredients such as apples (which contain high levels of fibre and antioxidants), as well as almonds (which contains healthy fats, protein, magnesium and vitamin E) which not only add nutritious value, but provides a flavour kick to the dessert as well. Sounds like our kind of dessert!
The most important thing to remember this festive season is to balance out indulgence with an equal dose of healthy living. As long as you focus on moderation, you are bound to keep within the healthy guidelines that you’ve set for yourself, without having to worry too much about putting on the festive weight!