Christmas lunches and dinners have always been associated with hearty meals, which abound in dishes and desserts that have “comfort food” written all over them. This “tradition” has long since been a part of many households worldwide, although it would really be a far cry to say that there is or ever was a “traditional Aussie Christmas dinner.” However, there is no denying the fact that such staples as roast meats, plum pudding, ham, BBQs, and cheese boards are practically ubiquitous Christmas dinner presences in a lot of Australian households even up to the present.
If you are trying to cut back on your calorie intake for this year’s holiday season or simply want to adopt a healthier Christmas dinner trend from this point on, then you really should consider cutting back on those types of calorie-packed foods that will only take a toll on your waistline before long. It will also only do you and your family a load of good health-wise in the long run.
Of course, going healthy does not have to connote big spendings readily. Nor do you ultimately have to forgo those Christmas favorites. A few twists here and there ought to do the trick to be able to make them healthier for everyone.
We will even point out a couple of our picks as we also give you a few tips to make your holiday feast healthier all around.
Tips for A Healthier Christmas Dinner
You can start with the latest holiday catalogs of Aldi (check here), for one. If you simply take the time to browse through them, you will certainly see some bona fide gems budget-wise that also happen to be healthy alternatives as well.
1. Be picky with your turkey
If you can’t make do without turkey for Christmas, then it’s high time to start choosing healthier options. For one, the Aldi catalog has a free-range whole turkey available that only sells for $9.49 per kg.
If you are not already aware of it, free-range turkeys are called as such because they are not confined in cages the whole time. They are not only 100% free from harmful antibiotics, but they are also tastier, as many people can attest. It is also not for nothing that these turkeys are often included in the eco-friendly spectrum because most are almost always organic and raised with sustainability in mind.
2. Always seize the opportunity to include fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables always serve as the best accompaniments and ingredients to numerous healthy dishes. Adding as much of them as you can, even if you are not going to skip the annual roast, will already give loads of health benefits that will more than make up for the unhealthy aspects of the other dishes that you will be serving.
Choose the best veg in season (potatoes, squash, and green beans are certainly on top of the list) and roast or grill them along with your chosen meat or fish. If you prefer freshly overcooked, then, by all means, load up on the salad. Use fresh tomatoes, cucumber, beans, along with any lettuce variety you can think of adding.
Healthy dressing recipes abound online, but, in general, you should choose fruit-based ones like raspberry, cranberry, or avocado vinaigrette or light ranch. Give it a Christmas twist by adding grapes or even some turkey ham to get a well-balanced, tasty salad. Furthermore, finger food is definitely a crowd favorite. To make those bland celery and carrot sticks tastier, try out savory and healthy dips like hummus, roasted capsicum with green olives, and guacamole.
Aldi is well known for being one of the best groceries to get fresh produce from. And we mean really fresh produce because they pretty much get them delivered daily. Take advantage of this by going to the store at your locale during the exact times when they are delivered; in most Aldi stores, fresh fruits and vegetables usually come in daily every morning.
3. Rack up omega-3s
Seafood has long been a staple part of most Aussie Christmas meals, but prawns, especially those that are safe for consumption are not always available every time. This is why it’s good to have a backup.
If you want the one that will give the most benefit to your heart, nothing beats salmon. You are in luck because Aldi is currently offering delectable salmon courtesy of The Fishmonger on their catalog for this week. It’s priced at $13.99 per 500g, which is already relatively cheap compared to salmon prices in other grocery stores.
There are loads of things you can do with salmon fillets. But you definitely won’t go wrong with oven-baked. Again, it won’t hurt to give it a Christmas twist by adding the red and green colors of cranberry and parsley to it. Use a little bit of panko bread crumbs and pine nuts to serve as a crust along with your usual combination of butter and lemon, and you’re good to go.
You can also go for finger food like salmon tacos and dress them up with savory chipotle mayonnaise. Be creative, as salmon is a pretty versatile fish that is also one of the healthiest varieties readily available that does not put too much strain on your budget.
Bonus Tip: Plan ahead
If you can take as much time in planning the gifts you will buy once the holiday season rolls in, then you probably won’t mind taking the same time to plan your meals. This will only allow you to stick to your allotted budget and refrain from buying on instinct. And, of course, you should also include the Christmas specials like the ones being offered by Aldi in your plan to really make the most of your money.
A final reminder: even if you decide to go all the way healthy this year, you still have to be mindful of portion sizes. No amount of healthy twists can make up for the calories you’ll be packing if you don’t control your portions, after all. It also wouldn’t hurt to go easy on the alcohol.
Ultimately, as long as you are able to exercise as much discipline in the meals you prepare for Christmas in the same way as the ones you prepare on an “average” day, then you won’t have a lot of issues sticking to this on a yearly basis.