When we think of the festive season, this time of year is often synonymous with rich processed foods, sweets, cakes and chocolates. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be, and you don’t have to kill yourself in the gym in January to lose all the weight you’ve gained over Christmas. It’s all about finding those healthy holiday treats everyone can enjoy without feeling deprived.
As with anything in life, the key is balance and moderation. I’m not saying you have to skip the Christmas pudding or pass up on the sweets wrapped in pretty paper, but the trick is to keep your portions small and monitor yourself and your family’s intake.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water and move as much as you can during the holidays. It doesn’t have to be formal exercise… daily walks on the beach, casual bike rides, a game of volleyball or cricket on the beach – these all count! I love nothing more than going for long walks with my daughter Bella, searching for sea shells or anything interesting on the beach we can find. Of course, I also take my rebounder with wherever I go, and Bella and I enjoy our daily bounce session – which keeps us both happy and healthy.
I also have a few delicious snacks up my sleeve that my family and I enjoy. They’re not overly refined and processed and they’re free from nasty additives. I try to stick to natural sugar as far as possible and eat whole foods where I can.
Sliced or cubed fruit pieces dipped in dark chocolate
To prepare: Simply pick your favourite fruits for dipping. Kiwis, bananas, papaya cubes, pineapple, apple, grapes and strawberries work well for this idea. Chop or dice the fruit and slide it onto a wood skewer stick. For little ones, you can just pop the fruit on their plate or in a bowl.
To prepare the chocolate sauce: Melt your favourite good-quality dark chocolate with a little milk over medium heat, in a saucepan. Don’t let the mixture boil, the chocolate just needs to melt. Then once it’s cool, dip the fruit into the sauce and store it in the freezer for a few hours to let it set. Enjoy it straight from the freezer or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To store: To keep my chocolate fruit skewers in tact (especially for the beach or a picnic somewhere), I store them in the Sistema Rectangle Fresh container with easy locking clips, and if there’s extra choc sauce, I’ll store it in the Sistema Sauce container. These handy little containers are also great for dips and salad dressings on the go.
To prepare: To bake peaches or pears, simply place them in an oven proof dish, pour in 200ml water and sprinkle a little brown sugar on the fruit. Bake at 180 degrees for around an hour until the water and sugar has turned to syrup. You can serve this with sugar-free homemade custard or homemade ice cream for a real treat.
To store: I like to store my homemade custard in the Sistema KLIP IT Round container because it has four locking clips to ensure no spills, and I keep my fruit in my Sistema KLIP IT Deli Storer. It’s a nice, long container so I don’t have to pack my fruit pieces on top of each other.
Flourless chocolate muffins
To prepare: Click here for my recipe and video so you can see exactly how to make them. This is one of my favourite recipes because these muffins are so simple to make, and it won’t take you longer than 45 minutes to prep and bake. Bonus!
To store: I often bake a batch of these before we head out to the farm in the midlands, so we can enjoy them there with our tea each morning, rather than relying on processed muffins. I store them in the Sistema Bake It Bakery Tub. It fits all my muffins in one tub and it’s made with an extended seal to keep them fresh.
Cheesy green fritters
If you have more of a savoury tooth, you’ll love my cheesy green fritters. Trust me they’re delicious and taste even better with a variety of healthy dips such as hummus and homemade tzatziki.
To prepare: They’re quick and easy, I promise. No slaving away in the kitchen these holidays! Click here for my recipe
To store: Any Sistema KLIP IT Round container will do for these gems! They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, so there’s plenty of other meals you can make with them, such as healthy veggie burgers, fillings for wraps or pitas or just on their own with a variety of appetisers.