Christmas is around the corner, and sticking to a balanced nutritional plan at this time of the year can be challenging. It's healthy to let yourself indulge at the holiday's gatherings, but that doesn't mean you have to totally blow your diet at every party.
Stay balanced and enjoy Christmas free of guilt with these super wholesome and delicious meals. You will leave the table feeling satisfied, but not stuffed!
1. Stir-fried Festive Cabbage
Recipe from BBC Good Food.
Add some colour to your Christmas table with this nutritious stir-fried! This 10-minute side dish will delight your guests and make your life much easier. It tastes as good as it looks!
- ½ red cabbage, quartered and core removed.
- 200g bag shredded kale, or cavolo nero, sliced and woody stalks remove
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp cranberry sauce
- 50ml red wine
- ½ orange, juiced and zested
- Finely shred the cabbage – the quickest way to do this is in a food processor with a shredder attachment or using a mandoline.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the cabbage and kale. Stir-fry over a high heat for 3-4 mins or until the cabbage starts to wilt, then add the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together really well, continue to cook for a further 4 mins and season before serving. Keep warm in a low oven if needed or leave to cool, cover, chill and reheat in a pan or microwave the following day.
2. Quinoa Stuffed Squash
Recipe from Nirvana Cakery.
This vegan and gluten-free recipe will bring seasonal ingredients to your Christmas table. It can be made with different squash varieties and will still look gorgeous! Use your creativity and add different nuts, seeds, leafy greens and mushrooms for that extra flavour and nutritional value.
- 6 mini winter squashes
- 250g quinoa ( 1½ cups)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 thyme sprigs
- ½tsp oregano
- sea salt & pepper
- 240g cooked aduki beans, optional (1½ cup)
- 75g walnuts, toasted (2/3 cup)
- small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- pomegranate seeds to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400F)
- Wash the squash and cut about ¼ to ⅓ from the top to make a lid. Scoop out all of the seeds and save to use later. Rub the outside and the inside with little olive or coconut oil and season with sea salt. Place onto a baking tray with the lids on and bake for 40-45 minutes until soft when pierced with a fork.
- Separate the seeds from the fleshy part (very fiddly) and rinse in warm water. Pat dry and place onto a baking tray. Toss with little olive or coconut oil, thyme, oregano, sea salt and pepper and roast for about 20-25 minutes until slightly brown and crispy.
- Roast the walnuts for about 10 minutes until fragrant.
- Measure 1½ cup of quinoa, place into a mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Place into medium pot and cover with 2¼ cup water. (1½ times the volume of quinoa) Bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer on a low heat until all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to stand for 10 minutes covered and fluff up with fork.
- In a medium pan heat 2tbsp of olive or coconut oil, add chopped onion and celery and saute for about 5 minutes, add garlic, thyme and oregano and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in aduki beans if using and season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Stir the mixture into the cooked quinoa, add roughly chopped walnuts, chopped fresh parsley and season to taste.
- Stuff each of the squash with the mixture and place back into the oven for 10 more minutes to warm through before serving.
- Top with pomegranate, fresh parsley, thyme and freshly roasted squash seeds.
3. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Recipe from Taste Of Home.
There's no real Christmas feast without... Turkey! Stay in check with your fitness goals this holiday season and indulge a wholesome meal with this easy-to-make and healthy version of the ultimate Christmas comfort food!
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), skin removed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup water
- Mix the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Place vegetables in a 6- or 7-qt. slow cooker; top with turkey. Rub turkey with seasoning mixture.
- Cook, covered, on low until a thermometer inserted in turkey reads at least 170°, 5-6 hours. Remove from slow cooker; let stand, covered, 15 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, strain cooking juices into a small saucepan. Mix flour and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve with turkey.
4. Vegan Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Vegan Insanity.
Who said Mac & Cheese has to be unhealthy? This vegan version of the dish will delight your guests with its flavour and nutritional value. Plus, it is low-calorie!
- 4 cups elbow macaroni
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Paprika, as garnish (optional)
- Vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
- Fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Add in the chopped cauliflower and carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until softened. Drain, and add to a food processor or high speed blender.
- Add in the oil, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Process/blend until smooth.
- Add cheese sauce to your pot full of drained pasta and mix well.
- Serve, with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese and some paprika, if desired.
5. Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe from Desserts With Benefits
- 140g (1¼ cups) Almond Meal
- 120g (1 cup) Oat Flour
- 96g (½ cup) Granulated Erythritol (or dry sweetener of choice)
- 1 tbs Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 168g (½ cup) Molasses
- 75g (⅓ cup) Coconut Oil (melted)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Liquid Stevia Extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oat flour, erythritol, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer bowl with beater attachment, add the molasses, coconut oil, vanilla and stevia. Mix on low speed until completely mixed.
Dump the dry ingredients in the stand mixer and mix until completely mixed. Dough should be dark, sticky, and sweet.
Roll ⅓ of the dough in between two silicone baking sheets until ~⅛" thick.
Sprinkle some extra oat flour on a small plate or shallow dish and dip your gingerbread man cookie cutter instead. Dust off the excess flour and punch cookie shapes into the dough. Peel away the dough surrounding the gingerbread man cookies and transfer the silicone sheet onto a cookie tray.
Bake for 12 minutes, then carefully transfer the silicone sheet onto your counter or a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Keep re-rolling the dough and baking until all the dough is used up. These cookies are best served the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for ~3 days.