‘Tis the season! It’s the time of year where we put aside our disciplined philosophies and use the cold weather to get a little bit naughty with our eating habits! After all, we’re all wrapped up in warm clothes – who’s going to notice?
Or maybe not? Perhaps you’re dedicated enough to your lifestyle choices that you need to maintain a nice and healthy diet, especially at Christmas where the temptations are so much more powerful and the consequences more, uh, consequential.
Either way, we are here to offer you some delicious recipes to get you in the holiday spirit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re being ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ this Christmas, we’ve got you covered.
For a tasty and traditional style of Christmas cake made for salivation, you really can’t argue with a name like ‘Ultimate Christmas Cake’. From Nigella Lawson, this cake requires soaking your dried fruits in Pedro Ximénez for maximum deliciousness. Luckily, Pedro Ximénez isn’t even expensive, it just has a flavour that compliments the cake very well. Made correctly, you will be left with moist, sticky fruit and irresistibly light sponge (although ‘light’ isn’t usually the case for Christmas cakes) – far from the negative, dry stereotype Christmas cake has unfairly earned.
Fear not, those of you aware of the 350-400 calories a slice of Christmas cake tends to contain, for there is a healthier option. Teresa Cutter’s Healthy Christmas Cake has everything you love about Christmas cake with much more nutrition and fewer calories. The trick is to use lots of extra fruit so that there’s less need for sugar, and the almonds replace traditional flour. There’s no butter either, just fruity delight with a citrus twist from an orange.
Photo from The Healthy Chef
Gingerbread – more specifically, gingerbread men – are great for Christmas because they don’t just taste great, but are also a fun treat for kids. However, the level up from gingerbread men is a gingerbread house! This gingerbread house recipe will make Christmas a fantastical day for the young ones, even if it is a bit naughty with butter, sugar and syrup as the main ingredients.
Of course, once the fun of the gingerbread house has faded (and been consumed), there might just be the guilt left over, since a single gingerbread man contains around 290 calories. Why not make the house with some healthier ingredients? This recipe offers you all the flavours of gingerbread but with organic butter and coconut sugar, so even the high-calorie aspects of the house are healthier. Then, of course, you can decorate the house with fruit and nuts making this treat a nutritious one too!
Photo from Liz Clayman
How can we talk about desserts without mentioning chocolate? Christmas has enough fruity treats – luckily there’s an option for a chocolate luxury that’s also festive – the Yule Log! We found a recipe from Mary Berry that has more chocolate than you can handle, guaranteed to make anyone who is ‘too full for dessert’ rethink that decision. Incredibly rich and undebatably festive, it’s sure to be a favourite with those being naughty this holiday. Making it into the Y shape is entirely optional.
That naughty Yule Log might have been tempting, but you can still have an amazing log treat that won’t fill up your daily allowance in one bite. The Cranberry Yule Log from The Healthy Foodie is a great and healthy alternative. It’s moist and rich but surprisingly low in calories because most of its sweetness comes from the natural sugars in fruit and the tang from the clever flavouring. By using coconut butter instead of dairy, and honey instead of sugar, a lot of the calories that are present are natural and wholesome.
Photo from The Healthy Foodie
Those are the top three Christmas treats that can be prepared both ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’. Don’t worry, Santa doesn’t take your culinary preferences into account when deciding which list you belong on! At least, we don’t think he does…
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!