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Happy Healthy Holidays: A Few Secrets to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

Healthy HolidaysIs a guilt-free, but just as satisfying Christmas feast ,possible at all? If you have forsaken a lot of good treats throughout the year, is Christmas the right time to take a break from your diet? If you have health concerns, can you manage to enjoy Christmas minus the traditional fares you look forward to?

Staying on a healthy diet can be very challenging. If you were able to stay on track for a long time, it would be a pity if you will forego your healthy eating habits. Of course you can have a festive Christmas celebration minus excessively fatty, salty and sugary foods. There are a lot of recipes/dishes you can enjoy that are guilt-free. Jamie Oliver offers a few healthy ingredients and how to go creative with them using delicious recipes in this blog What to Eat to Survive the Festive Party Season posted on Jamie Magazine.  

  • Mushrooms:These humble veggies contain high levels of selenium and B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, all of which are said to be good for your immune system. They’re also a great vegetarian source of Vitamin D.”  Get your mushroom fix with this hearty, comforting soup. Oliver suggests making a delicious creamy Mushroom Soup. Dress it up to fit the occasion – lemon zest, mushroom toppings, and a few drops of truffle oil. For more mushroom recipes using Portobello, shitake, oyster, button, Chanterelle, Swiss brown and many more,” check out Mushroom Recipes in Taste.
  • Citrus Fruits: Fruits such as “grapefruit, orange and lemon … contain extremely high levels of vitamin C, which is said to help boost the immune system and protect cells.”  They also contain fibers. Use them as an ingredient in your salad to give it a healthy, but delicious twist. Oliver suggests the Mozzarela & Winter fruit Salad.

Aside from salads, you can also use citrus fruits as an edible garnish or as an ingredient to a healthy meal. Get some Healthy Lemon Recipes from Eating Well – Lemon Pudding Cakes, Yucatan Lemon Soup, Salmon & Escarole Packets with Lemon-Tarragon Butter, Chicken Stir-Fry, etc.

  • Sprouts:Spruce up your sprouts in this festive, gluten-free and vegan side … health-wise, it’s well worth putting them on the menu for more than just one day of the year.” These veggies are not just tender, sweet and a little nutty, they are also rich in glucosinolate compounds, which can help the body detoxify. Oliver suggests this recipe: Sicilian Roasted Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts.

Get more ideas from this BBC post Hate Brussels sprouts? Try these lovely Christmas recipes by Xanthe Clay. Eating Well’s Healthy Brussels Sprouts Recipes offers some of the most “Christmassy”  recipes – Brussels Sprouts with Walnut-Lemon Vinaigrette, Game Hens with Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts, Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms, etc.

  • Yoghurt: “Packed with protein, natural yoghurt is a filling option for breakfast or an afternoon snack – meaning you’ll be less tempted to load up on party food later. It also contains lactic bacteria, known to support your immune system.” Olive has this dip for you to try and to please your family and friends: Minty Yoghurt Dip.

Are you looking for festive, but Healthy Yogurt Recipes? Try these ones – Scallion-Dill Potato Salad, Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Ouzo-Poached Figs, Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables, etc.

  • Broccoli:  “This really is an all-round nutritional powerhouse – it contains a winning combination of vitamin C (good for the immune system), vitamin K (to help strengthen bones) and folate, which is known to help with cell reproduction.Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry is Oliver’s Christmas fare suggestion.

For more Healthy Broccoli Recipes – Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup, Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle, Seared Salmon with Braised  Broccoli and more, visit Living Well.

  • Garlic: “…this flavour-filled veggie is a wonder ingredient in the nutrition steaks. It contains allicin, vitamin C and B6, all of which are thought to be good for preventing colds and reducing blood pressure.” If you love garlic and comfort food, try this suggestion by Jamie Oliver: as a starter to your Christmas dinner: Roasted Sweet Garlic, Bread and Almond Soup.

Get more Healthy Garlic Recipes and Cooking Tips from Eating Well – Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables, Garlic Roasted Salmon & Brussels Sprouts, and Garlic-Stuffed Standing Rib Roast among others.

  • Ginger:If you’ve overdone it the night before, ginger is heralded for its calming, stomach-settling properties, and is often used as a natural car-sickness remedy. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a good source of manganese and potassium.” Oliver has packed ginger into this super-nutritious smoothie: Kiwi fruit, ginger and banana smoothie.

For more ginger recipes, BBC – Good Food offers a long list of festive ginger pleasers, such as Ginger Sweet Tofu with Pak Choi, Chocolate & Ginger Torte, and Ginger Lemon Fizz. Eating Well offers some Healthy Ginger Recipes and Cooking Tips – Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Peach-Ginger Chutney, Blueberry & White Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies, and Mango Salad with Ginger-Raisin Vinaigrette among others.

  • Water:  “… When you’re consuming more alcohol than usual, water is doubly important.” Drinking water can be made a little festive too with some delicious twists. Try some of these Quick & Easy Flavoured Water by Jamie Oliver. Perk up your water with some infusions – fruits, berries, herbs, veggies, and spices, such as strawberry, cucumber, basil, cinnamon, blueberry,lemon, etc. Learn 10 Natural Flavored Water Recipes from this post by Reader’s Digests

Like everyone else, enjoy the season – the shopping, partying, drinking and eating. Just learn a few tips when you’re attending a party or hosting one. Healthy foods can be very visually appealing and delicious as well.

Attending a party? Bring the host/hostess a dish for a gift that’s healthy and pack away a bottle of healthy, flavored water. That’s tantamount to having your slice of fun and still not throwing away what you have worked so hard at in the past months – your healthy weight.

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