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The Healthy Way to Indulge this Holiday Season

by Haya Issa |

by Rand Al-Disi

Guest Writer/ Certified Nutritionist


'Tis the season to be Jolly! But that doesn’t necessarily have to mean you cannot indulge on your favorite food. 

Here's a step-by-step on how to have a very merry Christmas whilst still being kind to your heart and body!


Snack Smart

1. Make sure you have breakfast

Although the main meal is lunch! But, eating a protein-rich breakfast will help you avoid picking at those sugary sweets and fatty foods throughout your day.


One rice cake, 1 boiled or poached egg with some fruits on the side (try having some oranges) will defiantly stop you from snacking on those mid-morning chocolates.


2. Go 'small' or go home

Smaller portions of served foods means fewer calories provided you don’t eat twice as many. Choosing bite-sized mince pies is a great idea.


3. Don’t leave the clementine’s at the bottom of your Christmas stocking 

Seasonal fruits will help you towards your 5-a-day and also take up a good part of your stomach helping you eat less!


It time for Christmas lunch!

1. Turkey

Yes! It is naturally lean, but avoid the skin as it adds all those saturated fats!

Tip: try to remove it before you serve the turkey or at least remove it on your slices. This will cut your fat intake up to a half.


2. Who doesn’t love potatoes?

Even if your keen on potatoes, have a good helping of other seasonal vegetables such as carrots!

Tip: boil or steam them rather than roasting to keep the calories down

3. Woops! I haven’t seen all that salt!

The salt content of sauce can vary widely causing water retention the next day!

Tip: avoid adding more than 2 tablespoons per serving. 


4. Portion control!

If your 'holiday' plates are much bigger than your everyday ones, you might want to think twice about getting the fancy china out. Bigger plates mean bigger portions not to mention extra calories, saturated fat and salt!

Tip: try portioning your foods in a small bowl before serving yourself. 


5. Be a healthy host

Make sure you provide plenty of vegetables or a salad alongside the main dish so your guests can fill up on healthy side dishes and help them get their 5-a-day.


6. Hearty partying

Don’t give up before you’ve gone out. Think positively about yourself and know that you can stop at one or two treats - you don’t need to go crazy at the buffet table just because it’s party season. 

Tip: fill up your plate with salads and leave little space for other things.


7. Running on empty? 

Arriving at a party hungry will mean you’re more likely to overindulge. An empty stomach is also not sensible if you’re thinking of having an alcoholic tipple.

Tip: have a small snack before you leave the house and make sure you drink safely. 



It’s not Christmas if you don’t serve some gingerbread cookies!

But why not make them healthy?

Healthy gingerbread recipe


  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup black strap molasses
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons nut meg


  • Before you get started grab 2 cookie trays and line them with parchment paper. I also cut 2 separate pieces of parchment paper identical in length. We will be using them later.
  • Add ½ cup coconut oil in a large baking bowl. Let it stand at room temperature in the bowl for approximately 15 minutes before adding the sugar to the bowl.
  • After adding the sugar, crack the egg and put it in top along with the black strap molasses, use a hand mixer to mix it all along.
  • In another large baking bowl, add 3 cups of whole wheat flour and the other dried ingredients. Make sure they are combined well in the mixing bowl before you add the bowl with the egg, black strap molasses and sugar to it.
  • At this point the ingredients usually become tough to combine thoroughly. This is when clean hands come in handy, pun intended. Finish combining the dough with your hands before separating it the dough into two portions.
  • wrap each portion in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for a little over an hour. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe, waiting for an hour.
  • Once you remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on the counter. Remove one of the portions from the plastic wrap and place it between the 2 sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough between the sheets of parchment paper, go ahead and cut out your cookie shapes.
  • Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet. proceed to do this with the second batch of dough as well. Once all of the cookies are cut out and on the baking sheets, stick them in the freezer for 10-12 minutes or until they are firm.
  • While waiting for the cookies to firm up, set the oven temperature to 350 Fahrenheit degrees. When the cookies are firm, place them in the oven and bake them for approximately 15 minutes. The temperature time will depend on your oven.

 The cookies should be done, but not crisp.

Enjoy! And have a Merry Christmas!!


Rand AL Disi
Certified clinical nutritionist and dietitian
Rand Al Disi Clinic – Nutrition First
0798888005 – 079011827

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