We absolutely love Christmas, but sometimes it can leave you feeling incredibly sluggish after all the indulgence. Make smart choices – instead of limiting yourself – and you’ll have more energy, better digestion and your system will thank you for much lighter festive season. Here’s 10 ways to make Christmas lighter and healthier by making very small changes
1. Portions: A little bit of what you fancy
The biggest change you can make is portion size. Christmas is feast time, but watch your plate size. Opt for a smaller plate, that way you won’t eat as much (and you can, of course, go back for seconds if you’re still not satisfied!)
2. Make the Switch: sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
We all love roasties, mash, croquettes and all those stodgy staples of the Christmas table, but sweet potatoes are not only lighter, they’re sweeter and just as filling. Bake them in their skins for wonderfully fluffy jacket potatoes with your turkey for a lighter Christmas dinner!
3. Go Gluten-free! GF mince pie, anyone?
These are naturally one of the flavours at the forefront of the festive season, so you don’t have to miss out! Make mince pies even more magical with this simple gluten-free mince pie recipe, which is handily also dairy and egg-free!
4. Jolly Good Juicing
Before you mill into a Mimosa or sit down for a full fry-up, start the holi-day(s) with a juice! Immediately giving your system a boost from lots of fruit and veggies, you’ll start each day on a great foot. Kerb the obligatory end-of-year indulgence right from the get-go!
5. Swap dressings/sauces for Balsamic and spices
Cauliflower cheese is delicious but very indulgent, ditto for lots of other sides and desserts like sprouts dripping in butter and sugary, rich red cabbage. Why not switch out dressings and sauces for a splash of balsamic vinegar and some great seasoning, you’ll still get buckets of flavour but it will all feel fresher and lighter.
6. Pace yourself, punctuate with water
Christmas shouldn’t be about limits or going without. We don’t suggest staving off alcohol entirely – we take a drink ourselves – but why not pace yourself with a large glass of water after every alcoholic drink? You’ll feel better and you’ll last longer to enjoy the celebrations more! Also a great idea to restore the balance post-dinner is to cosy up with a cup of green tea 45 minutes after eating to aid healthy digestion.
7. Re-imagine dessert
We love a slice of Christmas cake and Christmas Pudding as much as the next person, but in between a heavy main course and the endless sweets you’re likely to make your way through, dessert can sometimes prove the tipping point. Why not re-imagine the final course and switch out stodgy cake for: chocolate-dipped strawberries; poached pears; or a fruit crumble with granola topping?
8. Snacks for slobbing in front of the TV
Do you gather ‘round the small screen for the mandatory Christmas telly viewing? Whether it’s a classic movie or one of the climax of a festive soap storyline, you’ll most likely be reaching for the sweets, crisps or other convenient snacks. Switch it out for some fresh fruit (maybe leftover from your last Fruit People delivery before Christmas?) or something crunchy like freshly-popped popcorn or spiced, roasted chickpeas.
9. Clean eater? Try these canapés
A brilliant canapé option is devilled eggs. Light, fresh and protein-rich with just a little bit of indulgence. Likewise fresh and light prawn cocktail might seem be a bit Seventies, but we love this updated, modern BBC Good Food version.
10. Surf instead of turf?
If you’re not a big meat lover or if you just want a lighter main, why not have a piece of baked fish? Roasted salmon with kale and blood orange salad and superfood stuffed peppers might be a delicious option.