Holiday Health Guide

Enjoy the festivities without breaking the calorie bank
ByJasmine BandaliTuesday , 02 December 2014
Holiday Health Guide
© Copyright @ Eva Gründemann / StockFood
Blueberry and banana muffins

It’s the time of year when most of us throw all caution to the wind, consumed in the whirlwind of parties and festive get togethers, leaving us wracked with guilt and a lot more heavy on the scales. Get smart this season and follow our clever tips for a happy, healthy way to see in the New Year…

SHOPPING TRIP SLIPS
You’re running around trying to purchase the right gifts as you embark on a shopping marathon that needs to be completed in record time. It’s only a matter of a time before the craving for a latte with a muffin calls. Curbing the desire to cram the nearest thing in sight into your mouth is about forward planning. Have a good breakfast like porridge or scrambled eggs before you leave the house and pack a few snacks to take with you, such as plain nuts, oat cakes or a few squares of really dark chocolate, or try our recipe for banana blueberry muffins which will only set you back 94 calories. At lunch, go for a protein-rich meal which includes fish, meat or cheese, to keep you on top shopping-form until the end of the day.

BANANA BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
MAKES 12 
CALORIES PER SERVING: 94

INGREDIENTS

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½-1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 ¼ cups mashed 

ripe bananas

1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute such as Splenda

¼ cup non-fat sour cream or fat-free yoghurt

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 180C.

2 Grease or line 12 regular-size muffin tins with paper muffin cups.

3 In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and blueberries.

4 In a separate bowl beat the banana, sour cream, sugar, egg and vanilla until just blended.

5 Stir the wet ingredients into the dry blueberry mixture until just combined. A few lumps are fine.

6 Divide the mixture between the muffin tins.

7 Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when poked into the centre.

ZINGY GREEN DIP
SERVES 6 
CALORIES PER SERVING: 92

INGREDIENTS

2 bunches trimmed watercress 

½ cup fresh basil leaves 

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise 

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

¼ cup chopped 

spring onions 

¼ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt 

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp anchovy paste

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp red chilli powder

METHOD

1 Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse 8 to 10 times or until just combined. Scrape the mixture into a bowl or serving dish. Cover and chill for eight hours or overnight.

TURKEY COBB SALAD
SERVES 4
CALORIES PER SERVING: 288

INGREDIENTS

500g turkey breast, cut into chunks

2 tsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

8 cups baby spinach leaves

4 slices cooked reduced sodium turkey breakfast strips, crumbled

½ avocado, in ½ cm cubes

4 cherry tomatoes, halved

30g blue cheese, crumbled

METHOD

1. Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1 tablespoon of water, oil and 1/8  teaspoon salt in glass jar. Shake well. 

2. Toss the spinach with 2 tbsp of the dressing in large bowl. 

3. Arrange the turkey, crumbled breakfast strips, avocado, tomatoes, and cheese over the spinach. 

4. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad and season with black pepper to taste.

THE MAIN EVENT
Healthy eating is the last thing on your mind on Christmas Day, but there are ways of enjoying food without guilt. The key is to have three proper meals. Have a good breakfast – this will stop you diving into the biscuit tin when you experience a sugar crash mid-morning. When it comes to lunch the amount of food you consume should fit in two cupped hands; which is as much as you want your stomach to hold. Enjoy it, but be aware of consuming things you actually like. If stuffing is something you’re not fussed about either way, give it a miss. Follow with a light meal in the evening like a turkey salad. This will stop you grazing on junk.

THE SWEETEST THING
Over the festive season, everywhere you turn, everybody appears to be proffering chocolates and they can be super hard to resist! Don’t deprive yourself, but do it properly so it really feels like a treat. Sit down, savour the flavour and enjoy it. Don’t just eat it in passing because it’s there. Of course, it goes without saying that dark chocolate is best – 80 per cent cocoa or higher chocolates are usually made from just cocoa and milk, are low carb and don’t have any additives. But what about when you’re craving something more decadent on a low-cal budget? Try this…

MINI CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
MAKES 15
CALORIES PER SERVING: 87

INGREDIENTS

2 cups finely grated courgettes

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

 Optional add-ins:

1 cup chocolate chips or nuts

METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 22cm x 23cm pan. 

2 Mix together the courgettes, sugar, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.

3 Stir all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

4 Add the combined dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just mixed.

5 Add the chocolate chips or nuts if using. 

6 Bake for about 55 minutes. 

7 Allow to cool slightly and ice them, if desired.

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