It’s time to start getting into the Christmas spirit now December is here!
We want you to be able to enjoy the festivities without any feeling of guilt or shame. Each household will have their own tradition for how to spend their Christmas, and food is usually a big part of that.
So here are some recipes that we have compiled to give you some inspiration for the big day.
Perhaps you are throwing a pre-Christmas party and want some canapé ideas? Or maybe you want to make a batch of cocktails and mocktails for your guests to enjoy? We’ve got you covered! We have also included some top tips on how to work on being mindful on this day, so that you can feel content and comfortable with your choices, without that overly full or bloated feeling at the end of the day.
Sesame crusted tuna steak, avocado and crème fraiche on toasted rye bread.
- Toast the rye bread. Meanwhile, slice the avocado into long thin slices, and place a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Pat the tuna steaks dry and cover with white & black sesame seeds on both sides.
- Once the pan is hot, add the tuna steaks and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked to your preference. Take out on a board to rest.
- When rye bread is toasted, spread a small amount of crème fraiche on top to give a thin, even coating. Top each with a few slices of avocado. Slice the tuna steaks thinly and place 2-3 slices on top of each rye bread. Season with some salt, freshly ground pepper and some fresh dill sprigs, before serving.
Prawn, cheddar, sundried tomato and olive sticks
- If you are using raw prawns, cook according to packet instructions and leave to cool.
- Cut the cheddar into small cubes, and slice sundried tomatoes into small pieces (drain as much of the oil as possible).
- On each cocktail stick, thread a prawn, cube of cheddar, piece of sundried tomato and one olive, to make a multicoloured and tasty appetiser!
- Place the sticks on a platter and you can serve with a pesto dip.
Garlic camembert with vegetable sticks (vegetarian)
- Preheat the oven to 200c and remove a baking tray
- Remove the camembert from the box and unwrap, then place it back in the box. Use a sharp knife to lightly score the top of the cheese, and poke in slices of fresh garlic so they are below the surface. Cover loosely with foil and place on the baking tray in the hot oven for 15 minutes – 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables by cutting the cucumber, carrots, sugar snap peas, peppers and celery into medium-sized sticks and arrange on a serving board
- Once the cheese is done, carefully lift this into the middle of the serving board, with the vegetables around the cheese, and drizzle the camembert with some truffle oil if you like
- Serve with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary over the top and dig in!
Smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber roll ups
(This can be made vegetarian with chopped spinach instead of smoked salmon, or vegan by using vegan cream cheese alternative)
- Mix finely chopped smoked salmon with cream cheese, plenty of black pepper and some lemon juice. You can also add in some fresh chopped dill here if you like.
- Peel a cucumber lengthways to give long strips.
- Add in a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture to one end of the cucumber strip. Then roll this up so that it becomes a tight parcel, with the mixture in the middle. Use a toothpick to hold in place if needed. Garnish with a few sprigs of dill and serve!
- If you are serving canapes or attending an event with canapes before the main course, try not to arrive overly hungry, as this can lead to indulging more than you would have if you were only a little hungry. This will help you to save space for what’s to come too!
- Pick a few of the most appealing canapes and take your time to really savour and enjoy them
You will have to offer guests a tipple when they arrive, and we have provided you with a mocktail and cocktail recipe that are both quick and easy to prepare, to leave you with more time to enjoy the celebrations and less time spent in the kitchen!
Raspberry mojito mocktail
1 large bunch of fresh mint leaves
3 limes, quartered
1L of sugar-free lemonade
250g fresh or frozen raspberries
- Add ice to your large serving jug (add in more if you are using fresh raspberries, but less if the raspberries are frozen).
- In a blender, puree the raspberries for 10-20 seconds until mostly broken down and smooth. Add the puree to the serving jug and top with the lemonade.
- Tear ¾ of the mint leaves and lightly bash with hands to release the natural oils, then add to the serving jug. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes. Mix everything together and it is ready to serve!
- When serving, garnish each drink with a few fresh mint leaves & a quarter wedge of lime and enjoy!
Rosemary gin fizz
Makes 1 drink:
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
¼ of a large lemon, juiced
50ml of gin
150ml of light tonic or soda water
Lemon wedge to serve
- Top a round gin glass with plenty of ice and add in the sprig of rosemary, lemon and gin. Give this a good mix then top with the light tonic or soda water.
- Give it another mix, serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!
- You may like to set yourself a limit for alcohol (such as 3 drinks at the work party, 1 drink on Christmas eve, 2 on Christmas day…) if you choose to drink over the festive season. This can help especially if you have quite a few social occasions to attend.
- Try to have a meal before or during any alcohol consumption, to help reduce picking at canapes or post-dinner food if you are not physically hungry.
- Keeping well hydrated with a glass of water between each alcoholic drink will help too!
Christmas berry and chocolate mousse:
We couldn’t do a Christmas recipe blog without including a classic dessert! Mousse is a popular choice as it’s easy to make ahead and takes no prep work when it comes to serving these to your guests.
Make these 1-2 days in advance and allow to set in the fridge until serving.
- 100g dark chocolate (70-80%)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 level tbsp caster sugar
- 400g mixed fresh berries
- 4 tbsp of full-fat Greek yoghurt
- Optional 2 tbsp Amaretto or Baileys crème liquor
- Melt the dark chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water (making sure the bowl and water do not touch), until fully melted. Cool for 10 minutes then mix in the Greek yoghurt to the chocolate.
- Whisk egg whites until stiff and grown in volume. Then add in the sugar and whisk for a few more minutes until mixed and peaks are formed.
- Fold in a heaped spoon of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen, then fold in the remainder of the egg whites, being careful to not knock out any air. If you are using any liquor, mix this in at this stage.
- Add the mousse into 4 glasses then top with the berries. Keep refrigerated until serving.
When it comes to puddings and mince pies or other sweet treats, try to be mindful of how much you have overall. If you fancy some at the end of the meal, have a small portion and take your time eating it, to really savour it and make it last.
Having a few more indulgent days over the Christmas period is completely fine – it’s what you choose to do after, that determines your long term progress. Plan ahead with meals and exercise to help you to get back to your routine soon after the festivities come to an end, which will help ensure your healthy habits continue as part of your lifestyle change.
By Reema Patel, Dietitian