Catherine’s Christmas favourites
Last week we talked about all the upcoming Christmas shenanigans and how to approach the festivities with a healthy perspective.
In summary: Enjoy the good stuff, but make sure it’s oh my god that was worth it kind of stuff! No getting to the end of an evening feeling remorseful about crappy canapés and too-sugary drinks, OK?
I thought I’d add to that this week with a few of my favourite recipes too. One of the keys to lifelong great nutrition is having meals and snacks you genuinely enjoy and look forward to.
A lifestyle that feels like a punishment is never going to stick! So below we have Christmas Salad with Sweet Potato Wedges as well as Christmas Energy Bites.
The Christmas Salad is an amazing way to use up leftovers without all the extra carbs involved in a leftover sandwich. I love it when we have clients switch white/beige carbs (nutrient-poor) with naturally colourful carbs (nutrient-rich).
Ditching bread for sweet potato wedges means less bloating, more fibre, more antioxidants (from the natural orange pigment) and steady energy release too.
Further, you can squeeze way more salad into a bowl than you can into a sandwich. All the gentle fibre from the leaves improves blood sugar balance, heart health and makes trips to the bathroom much more efficient.
As for the energy bites – they are a Christmas twist on a classic! All you really need for these are dates, nut butter and a food processor … but the variety of different dried fruits and the cinnamon here make these feel special.
These do have some fibre and a dose of protein (from the seeds and nut butter) but they are best after lunch or dinner (with lots of veg) to minimise the impact on your blood sugar overall. Just one or two should nip a sweet or chocolate craving in the bud. Enjoy!
Christmas Salad with Sweet Potato Wedges (serves 4)
8 cups of arugula
2 cups of shredded roast chicken/turkey, organic if possible
4 small beets, roasted
1 apple, cut into matchsticks and dressed with a little lemon
4 scallions/salad onions
4 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup or 2 tbsps apple juice
½-1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Toss shredded chicken, warm roasted beets, apple, scallions and arugula with dressing. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Roasted sweet potato wedges
2 medium sweet potatoes cut into 1in wide wedges
Light olive oil or coconut oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Approx ½ tsp cinnamon
Rosemary (optional but delicious)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss wedges with a little olive oil and spices. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender.
Christmas Energy Bites
Ingredients (makes approximately 15)
6 large Medjool dates, pits out
1 small handful of dried cranberries
8 dried apricots (preferably sulphite-free)
3 tbsps raw pumpkin seeds
3 tbsps chia seeds (whole or ground)
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps nut butter (cashew or almond)
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1 bar (approximately 100g) good quality dark chocolate, plain or flavoured. I used a dark orange chocolate that was amazing! (Supermart)
1. Place all your ingredients except the chia seeds and the chocolate into a food processor. Whizz until well combined and the dates/apricots have been broken down to much smaller segments.
2. Add the chia seed and whizz again until everything is well mixed. You should be able to press the mixture together into small balls. If not, add a touch more coconut oil.
3. Make approximately 15 balls rolling the mixture between your palms, and put on a plate. Once they are done, place them in the fridge or freezer to set.
4. Meanwhile, melt 3⁄4 of the chocolate bar in an absolutely dry pan (not even a speck of water or the chocolate will curdle) over an extremely low heat. Be patient. Stir with a metal spoon once melted and loosen with 1 tsp coconut oil if necessary.
5. Retrieve the bites from the fridge and roll in the chocolate to cover them completely or just drizzle with melted chocolate if you can’t be bothered with the full immersion! Put them back in the fridge or freezer to set.
6. Enjoy – one or two at a time!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram