As we enter the holiday season our minds (and our stomachs) start to think about the classic foods we get to enjoy at this time of year. However, we are here to tell you that you can still enjoy these classics without the guilt with our healthy alternatives.
- Christmas is a time that many of us overindulge on classic treats such as mince pies
- These unhealthy options can lead to long term issues such as high blood pressure or increased risk of depression
- There are healthy alternatives that can allow you to enjoy your favourites without the negative impacts
As Christmas gets ever nearer, many of us start to think about the sweet treats that inevitably make an appearance at this time of year. It is often a period where many of us overindulge and then have the usual regret in January.
The Risks of Overeating
We would not begrudge anyone from the odd moment of indulgence. It does not have to be the all or nothing approach when it comes to your Christmas eating habits. However, there are risks associated with putting on the extra pounds such as high blood pressure, increase in blood sugar and high cholesterol.
If you want the familiar holiday classics but without the health implications, then we have 5 healthy alternatives for you to enjoy.
1. Pigs In Blankets
A classic side at many a Christmas dinner table but also one that is high in fat and salt. For meat eaters, try replacing the traditional pork bacon and sausage with turkey bacon and chicken sausages. This tasty alternative is packed with protein and lower in fat.
If you want a meat free alternative, then use Quorn bacon and cocktail sausages or try something different with aubergine and halloumi replacing the sausage and bacon.
2. Fruit Candy Canes
A candy cane is a staple of Christmas with the classic red and white stripes enticing kids and adults alike. Why not replace the sugary candy with real fruit and slice up bananas and strawberries to create your own version?
Find out how to make your own at Healthy Little Foodies
3. Sweet Potatoes
Goose fat roast potatoes tend to be the go to choice for many but unfortunately are not the healthiest option. Try swapping out your potato for sweet potatoes and enjoy a sweeter and more carb-conscious option.
4. Low Fat Christmas Cake
The British Heart Foundation have put together their own alternative to the traditional Christmas cake that is low in saturated fat and salt. It also contains no added sugar with the sugar content all coming from dried and fresh fruit.
Check out the recipe HERE
5. Mince Pies
If you want to see the impact too many mince pies can have just take a look at Santa. That unhealthy waistline is a warning sign to us all off the dangers these tasty treats contain.
If you can’t imagine a Christmas without mince pies then try THIS healthier vegan mince pie recipe which combines fresh and dried fruit and is free from gluten, flour and refined sugar. This recipe from BBC Good Food throws in a cheeky shot of vodka which apparently makes the pastry flaky.
Have a Healthy Christmas
As with most things in life, the important thing is moderation. We all need to treat ourselves now and again, but it is important to retain a healthy balance. Have a healthy and happy Christmas and make sure you look after yourself both physically and mentally. Find time to go for a walk, do the things you enjoy doing and try not to let the stresses of Christmas take over.
Bacon, Simon L., et al. “Effects of exercise, diet and weight loss on high blood pressure.” Sports Medicine 34.5 (2004): 307-316.
Denke, Margo A., Christopher T. Sempos, and Scott M. Grundy. “Excess body weight: an underrecognized contributor to high blood cholesterol levels in white American men.” Archives of internal medicine 153.9 (1993): 1093-1103.
Huang, Cong, et al. “Independent and combined relationship of habitual unhealthy eating behaviors with depressive symptoms: A prospective study.” Journal of epidemiology 27.1 (2017): 42-47.