For those of you who follow a specific diet all year round, Christmas and Easter included, I have the perfect solution! I prepared for you some recipes that will match your healthy eating habits and -at the same time- the Christmas holidays. My goal was to give you choices (and some advice!) with balanced caloric content and nutrient density! What does that mean? That they contain complex carbs, protein, "good" fats, and at the same time, they have less than 400 kcal. That way, you will feel full for longer and get all the energy you need for this holiday season.
Soups will not only help you increase the quantity of water you consume within the day, but they will also help you face the negative effects of alcohol. What do I mean? That we will all drink a glass of wine -or two- this festive season. As you very well know, some of the effects of alcohol consumption are hangover, bad headaches, and dehydration. So, add soups to your Christmas menu since they are a perfect starter for your dinner, they are rich in vegetables, vitamins, minerals and fiber, and they will -of course- help your body stay hydrated, due to the water that they contain.
You should also know that due to their fiber and water content, they can make you feel full longer and, that way, you will overconsume neither the second and third course nor the desserts at the end of the dinner. Some of my suggestions are the following...
Pumpkin orange soup (97kcal per serving, 8 portions)
Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup (172kcal per serving)
Salads will definitely be part of your Christmas menu! Bulgur salad with chestnuts and pomegranate (323kcal per serving, 6 portions), is a great Christmas salad option. Chestnuts are a kind of nut that we use to consume a lot this time of the year. They are rich in vitamin B6, thiamine and vitamin E, while they contain many trace elements like potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. The only thing you have to be careful of is to not overconsume them since they contain 337 calories per 100 g.
The above combination of chestnuts, pomegranate – a fruit rich in antioxidants, resveratrol and polyphenols – and bulgur wheat – a cereal rich in fiber – is an excellent way to top up your body with nutrients.
Most salads are usually low in fats and they will not load up the body with saturated or trans fats and sugars. When you add protein,"good" fats (like chestnuts) and complex carbs (like bulgur wheat) to your salad, you -instantly- create a complete meal that will make you feel satiated and that will help you control the amount of food you will consume during the dinner. A salad, like the one above, is another way for you to add more vegetables to your diet! You can, of course, make your own creations by following the above advice.
Fish, another alternative
In some countries of the world, they use to eat fish instead of turkey or meat. I would say that this a very good habit they have. If you want to take advantage of the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, the so-called "good" fats that fish have, then simply try this recipe!
In case you didn’t know, "good" fats help prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, and they should be part of our diet at any time of the year. The above alternative has 315 calories per serving (4 portions).
One more recipe that I like a lot, especially for Christmas is balsamic cranberry roast chicken! It contains 327 calories per serving, and apart from the fact that it will make your food look very red and impress everyone, it is also rich in antioxidants due to the cranberries that it contains. In fact, cranberries seem to help treat urinary tract infections. However, you should consume them reasonably due to their high sugar content.
I know that some of you don’t want to mess up the eating plan and exercise routine you follow, but keep in mind that holidays are for resting, having a good time, and at the same time, taking care of your health. For this reason, get inspired by some of the above Christmas ideas and along with a little exercise that you can do with your loved ones (Yoga, Pilates, walking, cycling), you will manage to have a good time and not overconsume food and alcohol!
I wish you the most beautiful, healthy and…satiated Christmas!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.