What foods should a healthy Christmas menu include? What if we have a guest with a “special” diet? What to do with the remains to avoid throwing food? The nutritionist Laura González gives us this week at El Bisturí a series of tips and ideas to cope with the meals of these dates
Christmas has arrived and, with it, the typical foods of these holidays in which the episodes of heartburn, indigestion, and headaches due to the pounds that we have taken become protagonists. Does it sound familiar to you?
To get through the holidays in a healthy way and avoid choking, the head of nutrition and health at Nestlé, Laura Gónzalez, speaks in El Bisturí about healthy eating at Christmas.
The fundamental key if we are going to be invited to several lunches or dinners, with friends or family, is to eat slowly and chew well. This, which, a priori, may seem silly, will help us to have better digestion and not to overeat.
It is also important to limit the consumption of Christmas sweets to the designated days and in small quantities.
With regard to drinks, the ideal would be to choose water as the main drink to accompany meals and, if soft drinks or alcoholic beverages are taken, try not to abuse and consume them in moderation.
Another tip from the nutritionist is that the food before a special dinner be light, and vice versa, to compensate in some way for the excess calories that we are going to consume that day.
In addition, it is important to maintain the physical activity routine at this time of year. And what better way than to do it as a family. Bike rides, mountain hikes, or even a walk in the park.
How should our menu be?
To eat healthy and avoid food waste, it is essential to plan menus in advance and adapt them to the health situation and the preference of our guests.
As a starter, we can cook light dishes based on fish, shellfish, preserves or vegetables such as asparagus, endives, buds or mushrooms. As for cold cuts, cheeses or fried foods, it is important not to abuse them.
For the first dishes we can choose broths, creams or vegetable consommés, and the main one can be based on fish or poultry with vegetables, whether in salad, grilled, baked or sautéed. In the case of meats, lean meats are always better than fat and in prudent portions.
For dessert and after dinner, a good alternative is fresh fruits, which we can present already cut. They can even be put with a little bit of dark chocolate coating or accompanied by the famous Christmas sweets.
Vegetarian or vegan menu
It is likely that some of your guests follow a vegetarian diet – it excludes meat and fish – or vegan – it excludes any food of animal origin, including dairy and eggs – in which case it will be necessary to adapt the menu.
As for appetizers or starters, the big question that may arise is how to substitute seafood, a food so present in Christmas celebrations. In that case we have two alternatives.
The first is to resort to “prawns” made from vegetable proteins that we can find in specialized stores and are cooked on the grill.
Another option to get a taste of the sea is to use seaweed, such as nori, and toast it. You just have to cut them into squares and brown them in the pan with a little oil until they are crisp.
They can be served with sesame seeds on top and use a sauce to accompany it, such as mayonnaise. In the case of vegetarians, we will make it with eggs in the traditional way and, if our guest is vegan, the vegetable version – “vegan” – based on a sugar-free soy drink.
For the first course, a good option is vegetable creams, such as carrots or pumpkin, or the typical vegetable consommés of the time and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
As a main course, the nutritionist proposes cannelloni or stuffed soup, an inexpensive and tasty option that is very typical of Christmas in some places. In this case we will make them without meat, without eggs and without milk, using textured soy and vegetable drinks for the bechamel sauce.
Finally, for dessert, in addition to fresh fruit, we can prepare the typical marzipan figurines; a good example of a Christmas sweet whose original recipe is practically vegan, since the egg is only used to paint it before baking to achieve that shiny finish.
It is a very easy recipe, perfect to make at home even with the little ones.