It is mid December and the festive season is in full swing, although one could say it has been in full swing for a couple weeks already….and that is part of the problem.
When I was a child, in the 80’s the Christmas tree went up on Christmas Eve, or there about’s, certainly not more than a week before. Ever since the millennium Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier, with many people putting their tree up in late November. The knock on effect of starting Christmas so early is the prolonged consumption of excess.
Food’s that once were considered part of a celebration, and to be enjoyed annually, have now become abundant in the lead up to Christmas, often appearing in late October, and remaining in prominent view until early January. Actually most are accessible all year….. like Mince Pies.
The humble Mince Pie.
I love Mince Pies.
Every Starbucks, every Costa, and almost every office desk and household, has mince pies on offer for most of the, much longer, festive season. I am not much of a calorie counter but it is worth noting that most mince pies contain somewhere between 260 -290 calories. Made up mainly of sugar and fat.
Eating a Mince pie a few times over the Christmas week is absolutely fine, but if you are eating them most days, for weeks in the lead up to Christmas …as well as everything else, that is going to increase your over all intake quite considerably.
I wanted to find out a little more about the Mince Pie so I hit google;
- Traced back as far as European crusaders from the Holy lands, Originally made with meat, and spiced.
- Possibly something to do with the pastry representing the crib, and the mince meat representing baby Jesus.
- During Stuart & Georgian times the luxury of possessing spices important from far of lands was offered a chance to show off your wealth. Having a ‘pie’ meant you could afford the best staff to produce such delicacies.
- Sugar became cheaper and foods became sweater and by 1861 Mrs Beaton had a recipe for a meat free sweet pie and our love for the Mince Pie was born.
- By the 50’s it was all about the sugar.
Many delicious and indulgent traditional foods, like Mince Pies, were developed in times of manual labour, and before transportation was by machine. These were days when movement was woven into each and every persons day by default, not choice, they weren’t sitting in front of a screen.
One could say there ‘input’ could be balanced out by there ‘output’….but can we say that now?
So how are you going to enjoy the festive season?
It is so important to be able to eat without guilt, to enjoy our choices and take ownership of them. We all want to enjoy ourselves, at Christmas, and so should we! Of course it is not just the Mince Pies that will be in abundance, Alcohol, Chocolate will feature heavily too.
So a little thought is required.
Here are my top tips on how to Eat, Drink & be Merry this Christmas.
Keep festive foods for Christmas so that you really can enjoy them. Enjoying Christmas at Christmas time, is absolutely okay. Festive meals are a great way to spend time with family and friends.
If you are having multiple courses, consider how you can ‘lighten the load’ on your tummy by choosing a simple soup or salad to keep your nutrition levels up.
Do not restrict your intake of normal meals, as it could encourage over indulgence. Keep eating yourself well including a good range of colourful vegetables.
Try to sit and enjoy your choices, standing often means we are distracted, and less likely to enjoy and feel satisfied from what we have consumed. Even at a finger food party, there is usually somewhere to sit.
Intersperse all alcoholic drinks with water! Staying hydrated will reduce your consumption and avoid a nasty headache in the morning as well as giving your liver a helping hand.
If sitting to a meal, try moving your water glass closer to you, and placing your wine glass a little further away. When you are chatting, and sipping, you can enjoy your water. You can then saviour your wine when you are ready to give it your full attention. Not only will you drink less, you will stay hydrated and avoid over eating too.
Eat good chocolate. Chose chocolate with a content of 70% coco solids. Leave them in the kitchen so that if you really want one you have to get up to find one.
Only eat good chocolate. If you are given chocolate that is NOT your favourite, pass it on to someone who might appreciate it more. It is not wasteful, it is thoughtful!
Move your body.
Plan a walk, play twister, do that new workout DVD, follow my facebook page and do a few movements in an advert break, chop logs, so sledging if we are lucky enough to have snow, but keep moving.
If we make a conscious effort to mindfully, with balance, it is perfectly possible to enjoy the festive season, and come out the other side with a smile on your face, and happy in your own skin.
If you love mince pies but are looking for a little more balance, these might hit the spot. Packed with flavour, but refined sugar free. Packed with nuts they contain protein and healthy fats. We love them.
Festive Balls Recipe
A batch for sharing or giving.
2 Heaped Teaspoons All Spice
2 Heaped Teaspoons Cinnamon
500g Ready to Eat Date ( or dried and soaked in boiling water )
1 Heaped Tablespoonful of Coconut Oil
1 Orange Zested and juice of one orange
2 Lemons Zested
4 Grinds of Pink Rock Salt
250g Mixed Fruit with Candied Peel
4 Capfuls of Brandy …or more
150g Unsweetened Cranberries
Ground Almonds and Coconut for rolling.
Edible Glitter ✨
Pulse Nuts, Oats and spices together pleaving them crunchy for texture. Set aside
Blitz Dates,oil, orange, lemon, salt, mixed fruit and brandy to make a rough purée.
Using food prep gloved hands massage nuts, purée and cranberries together to combine flavours evenly.
Roll into balls and roll into ground almonds or coconut.
Freeze if required and serve sprinkled with edible glitter
I an not a nutritionist , just a Mum, Pilates & Health coach, trying to find healthier alternative for my family and clients. Please enjoy my recipes but know that I am unable to accept any liability for your health, or your safety while cooking. My recipes are intended to nudge people in the right direction, and encourage less packet buying and more real food eating.
If you enjoy them can find more blogs & recipes on my website www.sammiemcfarland.co.uk
Take a pic of your food and tag me, I would love to see!