Dietician-Approved Healthy Christmas Desserts (and other tips)

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Christmas doesn’t have to be unhealthy. A Brisbane dietician shares her top tips, including her favourite Christmas desserts.

Christmas can be a joyous occasion for many, full of good food, drinks and family company. But days of excess indulging can often leave people feeling negative and down, like all their health and fitness results from the past year have gone to waste.

Leading dietician at Fitstop, one of Australia’s boutique fitness challenges, Claudia Cramer, says it’s a mindset people should try their best to avoid.

“Give yourself permission to have a break over the holidays, whether it be with training or nutrition,” she says

“I’d recommend people shouldn’t fall into the trap that one day of poor eating will ruin your progress, because it’s highly unlikely that will ruin all of someone’s hard work.”

How to make your Christmas Healthy

christmas table
Smart choices at the Christmas table can be the difference between feeling guilty and feeling grateful

Choosing healthy alternatives at the Christmas table can be the key to letting post-Xmas dinner guilt go. And don’t be afraid to eat that dessert if you want it.

Claudia suggests ensuring your plate is balanced and full of macro and micronutrients.

“Load up 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and salads first,” she says

“Then add in some lean protein, such as turkey, ham or fish, and the rest of the plate can be starchy carbs such as potato.”

Claudia says the key is not to be restrictive and deny yourself of foods.

“If you don’t eat enough food, this can lead to feeling restricted and deprived, which can result in bingeing and overeating,” she says.

How to deal with overindulging

Having a healthy Christmas also pertains to feeling mentally well, regardless if one overeats.

Overeating isn’t the be all, end all, especially if it is only occurring on events such as Christmas and New Year’s, where time should be enjoyed with family over worrying about dieting.

While overeating can lead to bloating and feeling uncomfortable, Claudia says it is important to acknowledge the feeling is only temporary.

“Bloating won’t last forever, it’s only a temporary feeling and it will go away,” she says

“Once you get back into routine, everything will be fine. Enjoy the food now and enjoy the holiday.”

Claudia’s top strategies to beat the bloat include getting outside and exercising, even if it is something as gentle as a walk.

herbal teas
Herbal teas can help combat bloating from overeating

Stay hydrated, and is symptoms are particularly bad, try herbal teas.

“Herbal teas are great to help with feelings of bloating, because they get the digestive system moving so you can feel mentally and physically clearer,” she says.

Stop Sugar Cravings

With a plethora of desserts, Christmas chocolates and delicious sweets common over the Christmas table, it can be easy to give into sugar cravings and overeat.

Claudia says the easiest way to stop sugar cravings in their tracks isn’t to ignore them and restrict yourself, but choose healthier options.

“Options like dark chocolate, jelly and custard, or sorbet and fruit” are great healthier choices, she says

If you do want that piece of chocolate cake though, don’t deny and restrict yourself.

“If you want something that is more unhealthy, have a small portion, and move on,”

“Don’t obsess and worry over it, acknowledge you’re going to have a piece, enjoy it and move on.”

Home-made options are always better over store-bought, as healthier alternatives can be included, and you can be certain no added preservatives are bumping up the calories.

Claudia’s favourite healthy Christmas Desserts

Nutella Brownies (makes 12 slices)

nutella brownies
Brownies that taste naughty but are oh so healthy. Image: Fitstop
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup Mayvers Cacao spread (option to use almond butter or peanut butter)
  • 3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup milk (any)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Mix the almond meal, cacao powder, sea salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix maple syrup, milk, eggs and cacao spread until well combined.      
  4. Add the wet ingredients to dry and fold with a spatula until just combined. Add in the dark chocolate chips.
  5. Line a cake / brownie tin and pour in the mixture and spread until even.
  6. Cook for ~20-25 minutes, until just cooked.

Low Carb Chocolate Fudge  (makes 12 bite-sized pieces)

chocolate fudge
Fudge doesn’t have to be unhealthy

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut oil (heated and melted) 
½ cup smooth peanut butter 
½ cup cacao powder 
1/4 cup maple syrup 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Method
1.Mix ingredients together and pour into a small lined container to put in the fridge (can line with baking paper). 
2.Once filled, put the lid on and place in the fridge to set.  Once it is set, cut into ~12 bite sized squares. 

Feature image credit: Fitstop

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Zoe Bradbury

CONTRIBUTOR

Zoe is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. She loves working out and being active, almost as much as she loves going out for brunch and eating avo toast.
If she’s not in the gym, you’ll usually find her online shopping, buying something she definitely does not need, or updating her Pinterest board with travel and adventure ideas for the future.
Her other loves include dark chocolate, coffee and cats, all enjoyed while watching bad (or really good?) reality TV

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