Aiming to be healthy over Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean denying yourself at least some festive treats.
You can have your cake……and eat it, by upping the nutrient quota of your treats and indulging in some delicious healthy seasonal recipes. By incorporating plenty of antioxidants into your recipes, you’ll also help to boost your immune system to deal with any nasty winter bugs; awin-win for everyone.
Below are some delicious and healthy festive recipes to help you get into the holiday mood.
1. Smoked salmon, orange and fennel salad with black pepper vinaigrette
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
3 oranges
½ tsp red or white wine vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ clove garlic, grated or crushed
1 ½ tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
Bag of mixed baby leaves or rocket
½ small red onion
4 large slices smoked salmon
  • Segment the orange by trimming the ends, then standing the fruit upright and removing the peel and pith with a knife by following the curve of the fruit from top to bottom.
  • Holding the fruit over a bowl, cut sections along the membranes as if you were slicing out wedges.
  • Set the orange segments aside, and squeeze the fibrous membrane remaining over a bowl to release the juice.
  • Whisk together 1 tbs. orange juice, vinegar, pepper, garlic and oil in a bowl.
  • Place the fennel, leaves, red onion, and orange segments in a large bowl.
  • Toss with vinaigrette and place on 4 plates.
  • Top with smoked salmon, and serve.
2. Spicy lemon Brussel sprouts
  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 lbs Brussel sprouts, trimmed
3 tbsp olive oil
½ - 1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into fine strips
1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Steam the sprouts for 8-10 minutes until just tender. Then cut in half.
  • Heat a heavy-based pan on the hob. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, then place sprouts in, cut side down and sprinkle with chilli.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes until browned, then turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place sprouts in a serving bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and 1 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
3. Pears poached in apple juice
  • Serves: 6
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
½ pint apple juice
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick, or a pinch of ground cinnamon
1-2 star anise
6 firm pears
1oz flaked almonds, toasted (optional)
Natural yogurt to serve
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place the apple juice, orange zest, star anise and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat gently.
  • Peel the pears without removing the stalks. Place upright in a dish at least as deep as the pears.
  • Pour the apple juice mixture over the pears and place in the oven until cooked (approx. 20-30 minutes). Baste the pears from time to time.
  • Remove the pears from the pan and place in a serving bowl.
  • Reduce the remaining liquid by rapidly boiling it until it reaches a syrupy consistency (approx. 10 minutes), then pour over the pears and sprinkle with almonds to serve.

4. Chocolate Cranberry Squares
Makes: about 20
Preparation time: 10 minutes
1 cup pecans
5 large medjool dates, pitted
1 ½ tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp dried cranberries (or quantity as desired)
½ tbsp shelled hemp seeds
  • Blitz pecans and cacao powder in a food processor until coarsely ground.
  • Add dates and vanilla essence and blend until smooth.
  • Fold in cranberries and hemp seeds.
  • Press the mixture firmly into a baking tin and freeze for 1 hour to set. Store in the fridge (will keep for up to 2 weeks) or in the freezer (will keep for up to 2 months)
For a more indulgent version, melt 2-3 squares of good quality dark chocolate (min 70%) and spread over top of the mixture.
If you want to eat straight away, just press/roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and eat.
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Nutritional Therapist