Aiming to maintain your health goals over the Christmas period doesn’t mean having to forego all of your favourite Christmas classics. In our own minds, we often place certain Christmas classics on the naughty and nice list without even realising. This year, avoid placing restrictions on yourself, as this will only turn your focus on what you can’t have. Instead, remember that while everything is perfectly fine in moderation, you can have the best of both worlds. Here I am showing you how it is possible to enjoy traditional Christmas classics but with a healthy twist!
Rum balls are a very common addition to Christmas dessert menus and also a popular gift. If looking to gift a healthier alternative try fruit and nut balls, you can mix and match ingredients to suit. Fruit balls are rich in fibre, minerals and healthy fats.
My Christmas pick – Chocolate Fruit Balls
6 dried figs, diced, hard stalk removed (organic)
1 cup of walnuts
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup Brazil nuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup cacao powder
½ cup raspberries
1 cup LSA (linseed, almonds and sunflower seeds
- Combine everything except the raspberries, half a cup of LSA, in a food processor until course.
- Drizzle in honey (more in needed) until mixture is slightly sticky and well combined.
- Take a bit of the dough, put a raspberry in the centre and form into a 2.5cm ball.
- Roll the ball in the remaining LSA to coat.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Panna Cotta is a beautiful addition to any Christmas menu, especially in the Summer heat. However, the crowd-pleasing kind of Panna Cotta is traditionally used making chocolate and cream. To make a lighter version of panna cotta, try using yoghurt. Yoghurt is a great source of protein and calcium while being lower ins saturated fat compared to cream and chocolate.
Yoghurt panna Cotta with Pomegranate and Almonds
½ cup almond milk
1 vanilla pod, deseeded or ½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp. agar agar
1½ cups sheep’s yoghurt (unsweetened)
1 pomegranate, deseeded
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
Mint sprigs to garnish
Place the milk in a pot on the stove and gently heat with the vanilla seeds. Stir in the agar and let it dissolve. Allow it to cool then whisk in the yoghurt and agave. Pour into individual moulds and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. In a small bowl mix together the almonds and pomegranate seeds, then garnish with a sprig of mint.
If you are looking for a few quick healthier swaps to complement your current menu, here is some healthy inspiration:
Bottled strawberry sauce > Homemade strawberry Coulis
1 punnet of strawberries
1 tbsp. of honey
1 tsp. of cinnamon
In a blender place the strawberries, honey, cinnamon and blend until smooth. Transfer into a pouring jug and use immediately or let cool down in the fridge.
Chocolate mousse > avocado chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse is made from a mix of chocolate, sugar and cream. To achieve the same rich and decadent taste and texture without the high sugar and saturated fat content try an avocado mousse. Made by simply blending avocado, cacao, vanilla bean paste and sweetener of choice such as maple syrup. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats and cacao is low in sugar and rich in antioxidants.
Thickened Cream > Vanilla bean yoghurt
Combine 500g thick Greek yoghurt with 1-2 tbsp. vanilla bean paste and optional honey, mix well. Can also replace yoghurt with ricotta cheese if preferred.
Tinned Fruit in syrup > poached fruit
4 pears, scored at the top
1 large orange, juiced
1 orange. zested
4 tbsp. honey
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
4 cups of water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
In a large saucepan place the pears, honey, orange juice, zest, raspberries, vanilla beans and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes, let cool.
Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Christmas!