Christmas. A time for families, festive fun and…indulgence. With so many sweet treats surrounding us at this time of year, we know that it can be a bit of a struggle if you are trying to stay healthy. But fear not, there are plenty of easy ways to make small adjustments to your favourite festive treats, to help you cut back on the sugar, whilst still enjoying the yuletide yumminess.
The party season is upon us, and no social gathering is complete without a spread of sumptuous party food and delectable canapés. Although most are savoury, ready-made canapés can contain hefty doses of sugar, additives and preservatives, so why not ditch the shop-bought sausage rolls and treat your guests to a delightful choice of delicious canapés.
Boxes of chocolates and sweets can be just too tempting and easy to graze on, so why not replace them with a healthier treat? Fill a large decorative bowl with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts, including; almonds, walnuts, dried apricots, figs and cranberries for a natural dose of sugary goodness, that looks beautifully festive too!
Switch to dark chocolate
And if you still can’t resist getting your chocolate fix, satisfy your sweet tooth by substituting milk chocolate for dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa). With its rich, intense flavour, dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids, and much less added sugar than milk chocolate. Raw cocoa also contains high levels of iron, magnesium and antioxidants, making it the perfect festive indulgence.
Healthy mince pies
Mince pies are a staple at this time of year and what better way to get into the festive spirit than with a delicious home-made mince pie? For a healthy twist on this quintessential Christmas classic, why not try this recipe, which is packed with fruit and veg and no refined sugar in sight. A great treat for all the family!
Based on a recipe by veggiedesserts.co.uk
1 eating apple
1 medium carrot
Juice of 1 additional orange
1 tsp orange zest
6 tbsp raisins
1-2 tbsp Forever Bee Honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 package shortcrust pastry
Peel the apple and orange and dice into small cubes. Peel and grate the carrot and put into a saucepan alongside the apple and orange. Add the orange juice, raisins, zest, Forever Bee Honey, and cinnamon and heat gently for 25 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180fan/400F, and lightly grease the cups of a tart or muffin tray. Roll out the pastry and cut into circles slightly bigger than the holes in the tray. With the remaining pastry, cut star shapes for the tops of the pies, re-rolling the pastry as necessary.
Place the circles into the tray and add a heaped teaspoon of the filling into the case. Top with a pastry star. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, allow the mince pies to cool slightly before serving.
Cut back on sugary festive drinks
When you think of sugary festive treats you probably focus on baked goods, sweets and puddings, but it’s easy to forget that all those delicious holiday themed sweet drinks are high in sugar too. However, you don’t have to miss out on the festive beverages; why not give our recipe for hot apple cider a try, or to add a little sparkle to your soiree, why not try our Cranberry Sparkles Mocktail? Made using our Forever Aloe Berry Nectar this festive drink contains lots of vitamin C, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Christmas is a time for celebration and enjoyment, and these simple swaps are a great way to enjoy some yuletide indulgence, without all the guilt that goes with it! Let us know your ideas for making the festivities a little healthier in the comments below.