12 Days of Christmas: Day 3

London Met’s Student Blog will be sharing different Christmas ideas for you to explore, read, eat and wear for the next 12 days to put you in the right mood.

Cook your way to good health this Christmas

Everyone is counting down to the D-Day! From shopping to buying gifts to arranging a smashing party, I am sure you are moving heaven and earth to make this Christmas extra special! Amidst this carnival, Christmas food is pretty tempting but guilty enough to indulge. So let’s get guilt free - eat, drink and be merry this Christmas with our healthy quick fix tips! Here we go to find inspiration for the perfect healthy feast.

Kick starting a meal with healthy starters is imperative, as this is the one that is going to be consumed the most with drinks. Make sure it is or has some protein (to keep you full for a longer time) like chicken, fish, egg, low-fat cheese, beans, sprouts etc. Avoid red meat, chips and pre-packaged food items that are high in SSS (Salt, Sugar, Saturated Fats). 

Soups can be the best low-calorie high fibre drink if you make it correctly. If serving one style the chief ingredient as a fibrous vegetable (carrot, peas, spinach, pumpkin, asparagus etc), serve on a bed of grains (brown rice, barley, quinoa and buckwheat) or beans. Do not strain the soup. Blend it with all the goodness of vegetables and dilute with water if required, adding a crunch by throwing some super seeds instead of bread (sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds and sesame seeds).  

It's fantastic if you are planning to complement your meal with a salad. Make any salad, but make sure you dress it right. Ditch the heavy and greasy dressing with a vinaigrette dressing (balsamic, red wine and apple cider vinegar), lemon juice or orange juice. You can even make it creamy by adding greek yoghurt or mashed avocados or hummus or a nut butter. Say Cheese!

For the mains, you need to make sure that you are cooking with the right fat (use vegetable oils instead of butter, margarine, shortenings or lard) and cooking with less oil (some methods include using non-stick or heavy bottomed pans, oil sprays, cooking on a high flame, roasting or baking the food first and lastly brushing with oil for taste and glaze eg turkey or beef). For the gravy, one generally uses cooking cream. You can easily swap it with white sauce (made with oil, whole wheat flour and low-fat milk) or you can even use greek yoghurt - the technique is to whisk it well and add it when the food is cool or warm, but not very hot.

Now comes your culinary test! Put a perfect finish to your Christmas treat with low sugar treats. Cut down on the sugar to half in desserts by adding overripe fruits, dates/dates puree or raisins (banana cake, apple pudding, date & walnut cake, pineapple soufflé or fruit jelly). Also, use a combination of unsweetened dark chocolate with milk chocolate for desserts involving chocolate.

To conclude, cook the feast yourself or at least supervise so that you can keep a tab on what’s going and make sure fresh seasonal produce is used. Let your home smell heavenly and your body feel the same. Merry Xmas!