I’m not going to lie; I’m a Christmas person. I can’t get enough, the awkward jumpers, warm fires, mulled wine and rich food. However, I always seem to come away from it feeling uncomfortable, as though I’m carrying a few layers of extra skin. This year, however, I’m determined for this not to happen. So how do we enjoy Christmas, with out pilling on the pounds?
The few weeks leading up to Christmas, detoxing your body and being as healthy as possible is key. For example, banishing complicated and refined carbohydrates and sticking to grains, such as quinoa, which has twice the protein content of rice, and also packs magnesium, calcium and manganese and a good amount of dietary fibre, great for keeping your digestive system moving, especially in light of the richer foods we generally incline towards this time of year. It also great to base your diet as much as possible on seasonal veggies and leafy greens; sweet potatos, parsnips, mushrooms, beets, cabbage and broccoli, they are relatively cheap and make delicious additions or basis’s for a meal. Also the healthier and fresher the food the better for your immune system, so by sticking to these foods as much as possible, the less likely you are to get run down or ill. There are also some great immunity boosting seasonings too; chilli, ginger, lemon and garlic are all fantastic, and also boost your metabolism.
There is no denying, however, that part of Christmas is the food, the process of coming together over something delicious and a bit special. I’m allowing myself a golden 48 hours. From Christmas Eve night to Boxing Day night, I’m just not going to worry. Eat until I’m full but stop myself from feeling sick. Just enjoying the feeling of being able to let go, knowing that you’ve earned a few days off.
But what about before then? Christmas parties, friends coming to visit, Christmas markets; temptation is everywhere. Believe it or not, you can do Christmas treats healthily. I’ve found a recipe for healthy mince pies (hurrah!), and also for healthy ginger bread, both of which are below. Coming home from Uni, too, reunited with home friends, means a lot of nights out, parties and drinking. We all know that drinking leads to midnight snacks, and the challenge of resisting the carb on carb action of cheesy chips. In this case, keep some delicious but healthy snacks on hand at home, raw brownies, nak’d bars, and nuts are great, or even some of the mince pies below for a festive midnight treat! Skipping that burger van will be a lot easier with these delicious snacks waiting for you at home, and mean you wont wake up the next morning feeling full of regrets.
Enjoy Christmas in the healthiest way possible, stay active, go ice-skating, for wintry dog walks and keep up the gym regime. Just think how much better the Christmas hangover will feel with the pride of knowing your body hasn’t been affected. So don your Christmas jumper, bake up some mince pies, and sing those carols with joy, it’s going to be a very merry Christmas.
[divider]Deliciously Ella’s Mince Pies[/divider]
What you’ll need:
- 400g ground almonds
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons water
- 20 medjool dates (400g)
- 2 apples
- 1 vanilla pod
- 100g raisins
- 100g sultanas
- 100g dried cranberries
- the juice of 2 oranges
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
What to do:
– Start with the mince. Chop the apples into small pieces (without the core) and place in a saucepan. Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds into the pan. Add in raisins, sultanas, cranberries, orange juice, coconut oil, cinnamon and ginger and stir together.
– Let the mince simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apple is soft.
– While the mince cools make the crust. Place all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend for a minute or so, until everything is mixed.
– Sprinkle over a surface and roll the mix out so that it’s half a cm thick.
– Heat the oven to 180c and grease muffin tins with coconut oil and mould the crust mix into the tins. With the remaining mix, cut into shapes to top the pies, such as stars or hearts. Place the tray of crusts in the oven for 8 minutes. Take out and allow of cool while the mince finishes cooking.
– Assemble the pies, adding 2 heaped teaspoons of mince into each pie before placing a shape over. Bake the pies again for 8 minutes. Cool for around 20 minutes.
[divider]Deliciously Ella’s ginger bread men[/divider]
What you’ll need:
– 2 cups of buckwheat or brown rice flour (plus extra for rolling)
– 2 cups of pecans
– 1 cup of almonds
– ½ cup of water
– ½ cup of maple syrup or honey
– 4 tablespoons of ground ginger
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
– 6 strawberries
– 2 tablespoons of almond butter
– 1 tablespoon of buckwheat flour
– 1 tablespoon of coconut butter
What to do:
– Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
– Place the almonds and pecans in a food processor and blend for a minute or so until a flour forms. Then add the flour, water, maple syrup, ginger, coconut oil, and chia seeds and blend to a sticky mix.
– Roll your mixture out onto a flour-topped surface until it is nicely thin and smooth. Use your gingerbread man cutter to make the men, then put the cut-outs onto a greased proof paper-topped baking tray. Keep rolling and cutting until all your mixture is used.
– Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and leave to cool before decorating.
– For the icing, blend the strawberries, almond butter, coconut butter and flour in a food processor.
– Got to town decorating your men, using seeds, dark chocolate drops, and raisins for buttons, noses and eyes!
Maddy Walters, Food Columnistbookmark me