It is that time of year again when the Christmas decorations start going up and you realise that another year has gone by in a blink of an eye. We all do look forward to some of the special treats we make over the festive season; however we are aware that many of the treats are not the best to keep your waistline in check.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our treats. Remember we are trying to make the better choice here & still have a treat.

The recommendations that remain the same and consistent with previous articles:
– Alcohol drinks – use a light version of drinks and dilute drinks with sugar free cool-drinks or ice. Try and have an alcoholic drink with one main meal only instead of all day drinks.
– Excess sugar should be avoided. Use sugar free cool-drinks & low cal juices. Sweets and chocolates should be taken as a treat instead of eating them daily.
– Water must be taken in sufficient amounts. Alcohol dehydrates you and sugar competes with water in the gut thus making constipation more likely to happen over the festive period. Drink 2.5 -3.5l water daily to stay well hydrated.
– Keep your starches in check. Summer is a great time to eat more veggies and salads with protein. Have a starch at one main meal only.

Christmas Fruit cake: a piece of fruit cake can easily be equivalent to 2 slices of bread worth of carbohydrates and additional kilojoules depending on the amount of alcohol in the cake. It is an energy dense food as it is packed with nuts and dried fruits. Rather opt for a low fat cheese cake that can save you some carbohydrates and kilojoules. If you can make your own cheese cake you can use a low fat cream cheese making it lower in fat.

Low fat cheese cake
• 180g plain biscuits (such as digestive or Marie)
• 90g unsalted butter, melted
• 250g low-fat cream cheese
• 250g low-fat cottage cheese
• 250g low-fat plain yoghurt
• 2 eggs
• 2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (not fan-forced). Line the base of a 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
• To make the base, crush biscuits in a food processor, add the melted butter and process to combine.
• Place mixture into a pan and use your hand to press down firmly in the base. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then remove and cool.
• To make the filling, mix remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour over cooled base, then bake for a further 35-40 minutes (it may still have a slight wobble, but will firm on cooling).
• Cool cake in turned-off oven with the door slightly ajar (this is to prevent top from cracking). Serve with seasonal fruit.
Ice creams: we all love ice cream! However ice cream is high in fat and sugar. Opt for yoghurt based ice-pops or lollies. They are delicious and easy to make at home.

Jamie Oliver Strawberry ice lolly
250g strawberries, 100 ml natural yoghurt (or apple or orange juice) & 1 teaspoon honey
• Whizz up 250g ripe strawberries, 100ml natural yoghurt (or apple or orange juice) and 1 teaspoon honey in a blender or food processor. Taste, and add a little more honey/ xylitol if you think you need to. Divide the strawberry mixture between 4 ice lolly moulds, then pop a stick into each one. Put the ice lollies in the freezer for at least 4 hours or until solid.
Always stay active! Take regular walks, jogs, play tennis, swim or even continue to hit the gym if that is what you enjoy. At least the excess kilojoules get burned up and you feel much lighter and maintain better energy levels over this period of time.

Enjoy the healthier options and stay on track with your health goals.