Keeping Christmas Healthy

Christmas and New Year can be the ruination of any healthy eating plans especially if you are trying to be gluten, dairy or sugar free. I started cutting out these foods in the 1980’s so I’ve had many festive seasons putting this way of eating into practice, some successful, others less so.

What I have learnt is that these foods, especially sugar are addictive and the more you succumb to the temptation of eating them the more you want to. I have had years when I have given in then spent most of January trying to get back on track but still craving sugar and dairy especially if the remains of the cheese or mince pies are sitting in the fridge. I’ve also had years when I’ve managed not to over indulge and have not lost my appetite for healthy food.

The art is to have lots of foods prepared that are not only healthy but feel special and treat-like, and to avoid giving in to the temptation to buy mince pies or stolen just in case. My latest book, Easy Tasty Healthy has some amazing sugar free desserts such as tiramisu trifle and raspberry and blueberry cheesecake and lots of treats such as chocolate truffles, salted caramel cups and spiced pecan nut clusters. With puddings such as these to look forward to and treats to dip into whenever I feel inclined, why would I want to eat unhealthy food. There is also a fruit cake with a marzipan topping so you don’t ever need to feel deprived.

I also think that it’s a good idea to feed family and friends this way if you can get away with it. I have two sons both with families who are used to me and they happily tuck in to the food I offer. The only concession I tend to make these days is to buy cheese and biscuits. It’s also a good idea if you have bought in food that you know you will tempt you, to remove it from the house as soon as possible after Christmas. I usually send the family home with the remains of the cheese and biscuits.

Being invited out at this time of year is another ball game. Meals are not too bad as you can usually find a starter and main course with acceptable ingredients. I usually forego puddings or ask for fresh fruit. The real problem is those buffet type meals or canapes where nearly every offering will contain gluten, dairy or sugar.. The art here is to eat before you go. Nothing will deplete your will power more than hunger so what I do is have a snack or good meal before I go out. That way I can pick around what’s on offer – often eating the garnishes knowing that I can tuck in to some of my treats when I return home.

What I do like about eating well over the festive season is the way I feel in January compared to the way I feel if I give in to temptation. The difference is amazing and certainly worth the effort.