Tips for a healthier Christmas meal. Pexels

December is the month of indulgence and the Christmas meal is often the climax of an eating and drinking binge.

 A trend in 2018, though, has been a focus on healthier diets  and an increase in the adoption of a vegan diet. 

With this in mind, there will be more friends and family this December who are consciously eating or really battling to  stay committed, to a healthier approach to parties, braais and Christmas lunch. 

Dietitican Monique Piderit warned that “even a short period of poor food choices and eating patterns can wreak havoc on our gut health.” 

“The gut microbiota, a collection of bacteria and other organisms in our gut, helps digest food, regulate our immune system and produce nutrients like folate and vitamin K,” she said. When our microbiota is out of sync, like when we make  poor food choices, this is called dysbiosis.

Granny Mouse Country House and Spa executive culinary artist Wayland Green said we can eat healthily over the holidays and had a few tips. 

Fresh vegetables

Eat more fresh vegetables rather than frozen vegetables. Fresh vegetables are a good source of energy when used as a juice or in a shake. 

Fresh fruit

Whenever  you can, have fresh fruit. Instead of snacking on biscuits or junk food, have fruit. 

Cooked meals

Cut out the take-away meals over the festive season and opt  for home-cooked meals instead. However, if you really feel like it, there are places that offer healthier options on their menu and rather go for that. 

Processed and canned foods

Use fresh foods as opposed to canned and processed, which have lots of unhealthy fats, which are not good for the body.  

Cooking methods

Steam vegetables rather than blanching them. Use olive oil and not normal cooking oil. Grill on  an open flame rather than frying meats or fish. What about the alcohol  we consume? No December celebration is complete without bubbly, a beer or a glass of red  wine by the poolside. 

Cut down on alcohol

Low ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktails and mocktails have  become a standard on bar menus and the niche range of non-alcoholic spritzers are  there at your local bottle store. Craft beer  makers (as well as the popular global beer brands) all have low alcohol options. 

The only catch is that, besides  the ABV, you must read the labels of these drinks carefully because  quite a few have higher-than expected sugar contents