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Fitness

Christmas food swaps that taste as good as the real deal

Have your Christmas cake and eat it too with these silly season food swaps from accredited practising dietitian Robbie Clark.

By Food To Love
It's easy to let your guard down and throw healthy eating habits to the wind when it comes to silly season festivities and the myriad of Christmas parties you'll no doubt be attending this December.
And while we're rather partial to a second or third helping of pudding ourselves, this year we'll be implementing a few healthy food swaps - courtesy of accredited practising dietitian and founder of TheHealthClinic.com.au - for a delicious Christmas lunch without the inevitable food coma that usually ensues.
Below, Robbie lets us in on his secrets to a healthier Christmas, which much to our delight, doesn't involve cutting anything out, but rather swapping some unfavourable foods, for their equally tasty yet healthier cousins.
With all the parties she'll be attending, you can be sure The Queen has a few healthy food swaps up her sleeves!
Swap crackers for veggie sticks or pita bread
Many crackers are packed with saturated fats and salt. Instead, cut up some celery sticks, carrots, cucumber, capsicum and other pieces of raw vegetables for dipping alongside slices of pita bread.
Swap salted nuts for raw nuts
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and plant-based protein, which help keep you full for longer. Have small portions and choose raw nuts. Avoid the roasted, toasted and salted nuts.
Swap breadcrumb stuffing for grains
For most families, stuffing is a must for their roast turkey, pork or chicken. However, instead of breadcrumbs, experiment with different whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, or bulger to boost the protein content and reduce belly bloat if you have a gluten sensitivity.
Try this roast turkey with toasted almond stuffing from our friends over at Food To Love!
Swap heavy dressings for something a little lighter
Potato salad or coleslaw is a classic Aussie accompaniment to the main meal, however are often drenched in mayo. To cut the calories, and added sugar and saturated fat, without sacrificing flavour, make your own creamy dressing made with Greek yoghurt, olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and some Dijon mustard. It not only gives the dish a protein boost but it also provides some gut-loving probiotics.
Swap potato for sweet potato
Potatoes can rank high on the glycaemic index (GI) and take on a lot of fat when roasted in oil or butter. A good healthy alternative for your family is baked sweet potatoes or sweet potato wedges. Sweet potatoes are lower in GI and are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Swap store-bought cranberry sauce for home-made
Store-bought cranberry sauce can be very high in added sugar and the antioxidant value is decreased as a result. Homemade cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries, raw honey (or Stevia if you want to reduce the sugar content even further), and freshly squeezed orange juice and zest, is a much healthier alternative. If you can't be bothered to make your own from scratch, opt for the reduced sugar cranberry sauce instead.
Fight tummy cramps with a hit of magnesium, found in this rich dark chocolate and marmalade tart.
Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate
Chocolate is usually a staple around Christmas time, whether it be in recipes or given as gifts. Choose dark chocolate over milk and white chocolate. It contains less calories and is higher in antioxidants and flavonoids.
Swap ice cream for frozen yoghurt
Frozen yoghurt is an excellent low-fat alternative to ice cream. Homemade frozen yoghurt can be made simply by freezing your favourite fruits in bite-sized pieces and whizzing it up in a blender or processor with Greek yoghurt. Simple, healthy and delicious.
If you are thinking of changing your diet, consult your GP or dietitian first.
Yum! Frozen Greek yogurt makes a fabulous alternative to ice-creams. Try this blueberry yoghurt sorbet today.

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