A healthy Christmas and an active New Year

A healthy Christmas and an active New Year

 

 

Data from NHS Digital suggests that there has been a substantial rise in the number of obese children in England during the pandemic.  

Although there are many reasons for this, and the response needs to be multi-faceted, in the short term we can all play our part in making sure that the festive period doesn’t turn into two weeks of watching TV and eating junk food.

We’re not saying you can’t have some Christmas snacks and treats, but try to consume them in moderation, and instead focus on adding a festive touch to your everyday healthy foods to make them feel special. If you can get the little ones to help you with the preparation, then all the better.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

Fruit salad with a twist

Fruit is already brightly-coloured and sweet. Add a small bowl of chocolate drops or some mini marshmallows, provide cocktail sticks if your children are old enough to use them safely, and see who can create the most festive scene. Strawberry Santa hats? Kiwi fruit Christmas trees? Sliced banana snowmen?

 

Christmas sandwiches

No-one wants a boring turkey sandwich on Boxing Day, but what about if it’s actually turkey shaped? Ok, that might be taking it a step too far, but a Christmas sandwich is simple: Make a healthy sandwich (avocado, cream cheese, finely chopped peppers, grated carrot and cucumber all make good fillings) and then use a cookie cutter (or a knife if you are skillful enough) to punch out a fun and festive shape. The bonus for the fussiest of eaters is that the crust is already gone!

 

Rice cake snowmen

Spread a couple of rice cakes with a layer of cream cheese or Greek yoghurt, making sure it goes right up to the edges. Arrange them on a plate so you have a head and a body. Then, complete your snowman using either sweet or savoury toppings. Raisins, blueberries and olives all make good buttons and eyes; cucumber sticks, slices of pepper or Twiglets (other salty snacks are available!) work well as arms, and if raw carrot noses don’t appeal then a segment of that orange from the bottom of your stocking should finish it off nicely.

 

A fruity cocktail

Adults usually get all the interesting looking drinks at Christmas, but everyone in the family can enjoy and benefit from a fruit juice or a smoothie. The key is to go to town with the presentation. Use fancy cups or glasses and make sure to decorate with a glace cherry or an old-fashioned mini umbrella!

Here are some of our favourite combinations:

  • Snowman smoothies: banana, milk, Greek yogurt, oats, desiccated coconut, vanilla extract and honey.
  • Christmas-spiced cranberry smoothie: Fresh cranberries, cranberry juice, bananas strawberries, cinnamon and ginger.
  • Grinch green smoothie: milk, banana, baby spinach leaves, orange juice.

 

Of course, good nutrition goes hand-in-hand with keeping active, so after all those delicious foods, who’s up for a wintery walk  or an active Christmas party game