How to have a healthy Christmas


By making a few simple changes it is possible to have a healthy Christmas Day without forgoing the festive fun.


By including seasonal fruit and vegetables into the day's festivities, you can cut back on the calories without compromising on flavour, says nutritionist Bronwen Anderson.


"As we head into the silly season the temptation to let go and overeat is rife but there are many ways to still enjoy the festivities without overindulging or feeling like you are missing out. Too many high calorie treats and heading back for seconds makes it easy to blow the calorie balance out of the water on Christmas Day. However, by finding ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your Christmas Day breakfast, lunch and dinner and replace larger servings of high calorie foods with lower calorie fruit and vegetables, you can still enjoy your day, feel full and satisfied on fewer calories, yet still get to enjoy great variety," says Bronwen.


"Fruit and vegetables are water-rich foods that not only fill you up, they do so on fewer calories, which helps to maintain a healthy body weight," says Bronwen. "Colour is key when it comes to fruit and vegetables so aim to eat a rainbow of colour every day. It will be the best thing you can do for your body and overall wellbeing this Christmas."


Here are 10 ways to add extra fruit and vegetables to your Christmas Day meals.



  • Indulge in this season's beautiful berries with a festive fruit salad for a fresh start on Christmas morning. Take sweet juicy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, add a squeeze of lemon and fresh mint for some zing. Serve with dollops of Greek yoghurt.


  • Scrambled eggs, salmon and bagels are popular choices for brunch on Christmas Day. Pile baby spinach leaves on top of a bagel, add thinly sliced smoked salmon with deliciously fluffy scrambled eggs. Oven roast vine tomatoes until soft, sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs and serve on the side.  


  • If you're saving yourself for a big celebration lunch a breakfast smoothie is a great option. Whiz up a banana, a handful of frozen berries, low fat milk, yogurt and maple syrup to see you through the morning.


  • Christmas is the perfect time to fill the cake tins with delicious home baking. For a lighter breakfast option, impress guests with warm apple and cinnamon muffins fresh from the oven.   


  • Avoid fat-laden dips and spreads and serve sticks of carrot, celery, cucumber, orange segments and grapes for finger food instead. 


  • Perk up platters with frozen grapes or thinly sliced nectarine and pawpaw as a delightful addition to any cheeseboard.


  • Barbequed vegetables are a lovely and colourful alternative to heavy roast vegetable dishes. Asparagus, zucchini, pumpkin and capsicum look gorgeous and are appetising. Top this combination with parsley and lemon wedges, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.


  • For a new colourful twist on the traditional stuffing, add dried fruit like apricots, cranberries and apple with chopped capsicum for a festive flavour.


  • Mini meringues topped with whipped cream, low fat yoghurt or fat-free fromage frais, sliced strawberries, bananas, grapes and passionfruit, is a great option. Or impress with a vanilla pannacotta and a strawberry salsa.


  • For a low fat, fresh tasting pudding sprinkle brown sugar over halved peaches or nectarines and dot with low fat spread. Bake until golden and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche or yogurt. This is perfect for entertaining a crowd on a budget.  

Visit www.5aday.co.nz for more tips, recipes and other information.

- Hamilton News

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