A concern I’m often asked about around this time of year is weight gain around the silly season. With Christmas parties, lots of bevvies flowing, trifles, puddings, chocolates and of course, the big Christmas lunch (and dinner), there are plenty of opportunities to indulge while we celebrate with loved ones. However, that bloated, so-called “fat” and sluggish feeling you’re left with afterwards isn’t anywhere near as fun.
These recipes are designed to not only be a healthy alternative to your regular Christmas treats, they are a tasty way to bring the benefits of food as medicine to your body without you even knowing it. I’ve also made sure they are incredibly simple to prepare and full of Christmas cheer!
So put on your favourite Christmas carols, trim the tree, and let’s get right into it.
Spiced Apple Cider (aka. Pimped Kombucha)
Traditionally, Christmas recipes are warm, so if we were in the Northern Hemisphere, this list would be very different. But we are in Australia, so creating something refreshing is key here.
The point of this recipe is to introduce warming spices to improve the function of your digestive system and reduce that post-lunch bloating feeling by introducing some natural probiotics in the kombucha and apple cider vinegar.
I suggest you consume a cup of this before a meal for the most benefits, preferably while donning that hat you’ll win from a bon bon.
Refreshing Spiced Apple Cider (serves 4-6)
Add a cinnamon stick, ½ a vanilla pod (sliced open with seeds scraped also added), 1 star anise, 2cm fresh sliced ginger, 4 cardamom pods, ¼ tsp finely grated or ground nutmeg to a 200ml jar or container
Add 4tb organic apple cider vinegar to the jar, put on the lid and shake through the spices. Leave in the fridge to soak for at least 1 hour (6 hours for the most flavour).
When ready to serve, pour this into a jug over ice and fruit of your choice (sliced oranges/lemon/lime/apples and either raspberries or cut strawberries) and pour over 750ml apple kombucha (my favourite is the Remedy brand) or kombucha of your choice
Chia Pudding Parfait
Not every dessert you make has to be full of sugar to be delicious, and this chia pudding parfait is a perfect example. It’s also a great option to make on Christmas eve and have ready to eat Christmas morning while opening the presents, with minimal effort. Serve these in individual glasses/jars so that you can see the pretty layers.
Summer Chia Pudding Parfait (serves 4 as a dessert, or 2 for breakfast/snack/meal)
In a 300-500ml jar, add 4tb chia seeds and ½ cup nut milk of your choice (I made cashew milk for this and poured it pulp-an-all into the jar) with 2-3 drops of vanilla extract. Put the lid on and give it a good shake. Leave for 30 minutes to overnight, checking occasionally to make sure all chia seeds absorb the nut milk (sometimes they clump together, in which case I use a spoon to break them up).
In 2-4 glasses, layer chia pudding with layers of cut fruit (passionfruit, strawberries, raspberries and nectarines) and coconut yoghurt (natural, vanilla or chocolate flavour) until 6-9 layers are present (see image). Top with chopped pistachios or pepitas, cacao nibs and strawberries to make it look extra Christmassy!
Sugar-free Chocolate bites
These chocolate bites are a great option that you can easily customise depending on the flavours you like with your chocolate. You can serve them as an after dinner treat, or even give them away as presents (as long as you know that you can keep them in the fridge). Other filling options include peanuts (or other nuts), coconut flakes, goji berries, figs, apricots or other dried fruits of your choice.
Whisk together 1 cup raw cacao powder, 1 cup melted coconut oil, a pinch of natural salt and 25 drops of liquid stevia in a medium sized bowl until smooth and no lumps remain.
Add ½ cup raw cacao nibs, ½ cup roughly chopped pistachios and a punnet of raspberries, chopped in half and stir through.
You can either pour the mixture in an even spread onto a baking dish and then cut into pieces once set, or pour the mixture into mini patty pans or into a few ice trays. Freeze for at least an hour and keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
Merry Christmas friends! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. And if you do try out my recipes, I’d love to see how they turned out (tag away! @mirandaswellness)