Today’s guest post is from Jackie Perez of Perfect Balance Health who is going to help us have a healthier Christmas. Jackie has studied nutrition and been a nutritionist for 10 years. She is passionate about her job and feels that what we eat has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. What we eat can affect our mood, energy levels, how we sleep and can even affect our immune system. Today Jackie is going to share with us some very useful tips on a healthier Christmas but still feel like you’re having treats!
Christmas is the time of year to eat, drink and be merry. We all have a tendency to eat and drink more than we normally would – but hey so what! However, as a nutritionist I thought I would introduce you to some healthy options that you could include along with your normal Christmas food traditions. Here are some simple ideas that you might like to try this Christmas:
Roasting Vegetables: When roasting vegetables, why not use coconut oil instead of your usual oil or fat? Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils to cook with. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti- inflammatory so it supports your immune system. It is also used as energy and not turned to fat in the body, so great if you are watching your weight too. You can buy coconut oil from most supermarkets now or buy in larger amounts online (Biona from Amazon is a good option).
Bonus Tip: You can also use coconut oil in regular cooking such as frying onions or when cooking an omelette, in baking and raw desserts. It is also great for the skin, so why not take a small amount and put it in a separate pot to keep in the bedroom and use it as your night time moisturiser.
Savoury Canapés: When making savoury canapés, to avoid extra carbs or wheat then why not use sliced cucumber as the base rather than a biscuit or cracker? Top the cucumber with some cheese and sliced olives, smoked salmon and cream cheese or cottage cheese? These went down a treat in our house last Christmas!
Pre-dinner Snacks: Whilst having your Christmas pre-dinner drinks, why not snack on some home-made flavoured nuts? Use your favourite nut or a mixture, cover them with honey and sprinkle with curry powder or chilli. For a sweet fix you can sprinkle with cinnamon too. Bake the coated nuts in the oven on a baking tray for about 10 minutes. Yum!
Another snack idea is roasted chickpeas. Here is a recipe to try:
- 2 cans chickpeas – rinsed and dried
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- Half tsp salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 °F/200 °c/Gas Mark 6
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and dry them well in a paper towel.
Melt the coconut oil in a bowl over a pan of boiling water until liquid.
Mix all the spices together with the oil and mix well.
Add the chickpeas to the spicy mixture and coat them well.
Transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Cook for 15 minutes before shaking the tray to toss them.
Cook for a further 10 minutes or so but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn towards the end. They want to be crisp and crunchy.
Serve warm or at room temperature
Sweet treats: Finally, at Christmas time it is inevitable that the chocolates will make an appearance, such as Quality Street or Roses. This year why not offer another sweet treat as an alternative. Last year I made these stuffed dates which also went down a treat. To make them just de-stone some dates and stuff them with a nut butter like cashew or almond butter. Dates are sweet but full of minerals and fibre. The nut butter will give you a serving of good fats and minerals. You won’t need many to stave off that sugar fix!
So there you have it a mixture of savoury and sweet treats to keep you going until the big Turkey comes makes its big appearance.
If you would like to know more about Jackie’s services and workshops then hop over to her website www.perfectbalancehealth.co.uk or pop over to her Facebook page here. She can help you with a variety of issues from weight issues, IBS, skin problems and more.
Jackie will be popping back in the new year to tell us all about her Vitality Detox Plan so you can start 2016 with how you mean to go on.
Have a good Christmas!