It may be the season of eating, drinking and pure indulgence, but Christmas doesn’t have to mean weeks of excessive calorie consumption. Whether it’s making healthy food swaps or opting for ‘lighter’ choices, there are ways to keep up healthy eating throughout the festive season. Don’t believe us? Clean Eating Alice shares her Christmas eating tips and recipe ideas…
I love smoked salmon, and it's a really classic thing to eat at Christmas time. What I love to do is slice cucumber very thinly with a peeler, roll it up with a little piece of smoked salmon inside, and then place it on a cocktail stick. That's really lovely.
Another idea is to make little crushed pea fritters, which you can dress with smoked salmon, and top with a crack of black pepper and a bit of fresh lemon. Bite-sized slices of fresh beef with a dollop of horseradish on top are also delicious.
As a total treat though, roast cocktail sausages (the best quality possible) in a little bit of coconut oil and Dijon mustard – they're wonderful!
Guilt-free (-ish) desserts
Taking my French toast recipe (from my book, The Body Bible), I recommend using a sourdough loaf, and then serving it with a homemade winter berry compote and natural yoghurt. A spoonful of Greek yoghurt is a great cream or ice cream substitute if you're really trying to be good, and a drizzle of organic honey is always great for some natural sweetness.
Fruit is always a good, healthy way to go dessert-wise, and this season there are some really nice recipes you can make. Try roasting fruit in honey or poaching pears, or even an apple and blackberry crumble but with an oat topping. For added sweetness you could use coconut sugar or honey.
Another healthy twist on a sugary favourite is my chocolate avocado mousse as well. It’s pretty scrummy!
Better ways to booze
Alcohol-wise, keep things light and opt for something like a vodka and soda water with a few squeezes of fresh lime. It's a really refreshing drink, as is gin with tonic or soda too, which again, can be mixed with fresh lime or lemon. Adding a few crushed fresh mint leaves to your drink can really work too – you don’t always need sugary cocktails.
Do remember that's there's no harm in having a few glasses of what you really love over the festive period too. Christmas only comes around once a year so it’s OK to indulge a little. Don't feel like you have to stay totally good at Christmas! Restricting yourself at this time of year really isn't what it's about.
And for a hangover after the Christmas party…
To be honest, I find something like bacon (nice and salty) in the morning the best thing! Obviously load up on water for hydration too, but then something that's going to properly fill your stomach and absorb everything is best.
Healthy swaps for the festive period
Instead of loading your Christmas dinner with carbs (like lots of roast potatoes), cook an extra vegetable like a kale, parsnips or roasted broccoli. I love red cabbage – that's a great addition. Or why not roast some sweet potato too?
Swap animal fats (goose fat and duck fat), sunflower oil and vegetable oil for coconut oil. Even using olive oil to roast things in is a lighter option too.
As gifts, instead of giving boxes of chocolates and fudge, make a batch of homemade granola, jar it and then tie it up in ribbon. Making jams and chutneys are equally lovely. You can make them from organic fruits and with so much less sugar than bought ones.
But sometimes you just have to indulge...
I'm very partial to a fruit crumble, but every Christmas my mum makes an amazing sticky toffee pudding, which is unbelievable! I have it with loads of ice cream. That's definitely my favourite – my mouth is watering just thinking about it!