Healthy Christmas Food … is it a thing? What does that mean?
Christmas is one of those times of the year when it’s not so easy to stick to a healthy routine, be it diet-wise or exercise.
The holidays, a diet challenge?
Don’t get me wrong, I love all about Christmas: all the lights outside, decorations at home, the warm and shiny colors, party and menu planning, gifts… It’s a time for pampering, and I love it. Including the food!
The only thing I don’t like as much is the post-holiday belly. That’s why I’ve been honing a few tricks that prevent me from ruining my shape. Secret tips and tricks, as we can’t talk about them too loudly, some people seem to be kind of offended… jealous, perhaps?
Tips for a healthier Christmas…did you read my newsletter?
I have shared all my suggestions on how to be really healthy during the holidays with my dear subscribers… Are you there? If not, make sure you subscribe, because I won’t flood your inbox with email and when I do write, it’s always exciting and valuable 🙂
One of my tips for a healthier Christmas concerns making sure you still eat your veggies. You should make sure that, no matter what else you eat, you still have half your plate filled with nutritious and fiber-rich vegetables.
Healthy Christmas Food: recipes that go well with every menu
So, my contribution to your Christmas menu this year is all about the vegetables and salads that you can add to your tradition. These are recipes that will go with all the usual mains – meat or fish-based – and that will help you to keep your system as balanced as possible.
A stress-free approach
This approach has the additional benefit of not being stress-inducing. I want you to be able to enjoy YOUR Christmas, precisely as you and your family like it. What I’m giving you is a useful add-on that you can use to balance things out.
Make the vegetarians in the family happy
I’ve said before: healthy eating is all about what you choose to eat.
More and more people are now concerned about what they eat, both young and older. Every family now has a vegetarian or vegan member, and you’ll want them to feel included.
So, my suggestion is that you make sure that you have some healthy options on your table to complement your party meals. Having a few plant-based options on your menus will ensure that everyone will be happy.
I will be sharing some of my recipes this week, here on the blog.
The first one is RATATOUILLE!
Ratatouille is a very typical French dish. It was the first dish anyone ever cooked for me, romantically speaking, so it kind of holds a special place in my heart.
It is also the main character of an amusing film of the same name, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. But the ratatouille I’m speaking about here is the dish, not the cute mouse.
What I love about ratatouille is how easy it is to make and also it embodies everything good about the Mediterranean diet: a mix of easy to digest vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces, so they are quickly stewed in a tomato-based sauce. It’s cozy, convivial and perfect for a family dinner.
I make it very low in fat because that’s how I like my food. Sometimes I add spices… there is always that moment a girl needs her cumin!
But not today, this is my basic recipe, that will go with basically EVERYTHING you may choose to have on your table this Christmas.
Is it the classic traditional French recipe? Probably not 😉
What I care about is the fact that the flavors work well and it’s filled with veggies I love (that are very easy to find and affordable).
Ratatouille (Glow Chef Style)
So, here comes the recipe.
Serves 8 as a side dish
- 1 large courgette (zucchini)
- 1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
- 2 carrots
- 2 leeks (white part only)
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 can of peeled tomatoes (400g; 14oz)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Wash all the vegetables. Peel the carrots.
Dice the onion and the garlic cloves.
Cut all the other vegetables into bite-sized pieced (larger dice).
Slice the mushrooms if necessary (truth be told, when they look good, I buy mine already sliced).
Place a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic.
Let it sweat for a few minutes until the onion looks translucent.
Add the other vegetables along with half a cup of water and the dried oregano.
Cover and let the veggies steam for 5 minutes.
Stir them carefully, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
Add your tomatoes, the remaining water, and the fresh herbs.
Crush the tomatoes gently with a wooden spoon.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir again, carefully. Half cover the pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Let the vegetables cook like this, for 15 minutes.
Stir again and taste. Decide if the veggies are already cooked or if they need 5 more minutes.
When ready, add the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
And it’s ready.
How to eat
I like ratatouille as a side dish to meat or fish, but I also eat it quite often as part of a vegan meal, as the juices are perfect to moist a bit of cooked quinoa or brown rice.
I hope you enjoy it. If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know!