Christmas is generally the one time of year when people don’t worry about fat content and calorie counting.
However, overindulging is easy and can quickly undo all the healthy living you’ve done during the year.
We have got some healthier treat options that taste great but won’t leave you feeling guilty as you loosen your belt in January.
Cute Christmas cookies
We all love to dip into the biscuit tin at Christmas but the chocolate chips, cream fillings and icing make it dangerous territory. These treats taste as good as they look without the need for extra sugar.
100g/3½oz soft unsalted butter
60g/2¼oz soft brown sugar
One large egg
Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
275g/9¾oz plain flour plus extra for dusting
One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
One tablespoon of finely chopped peel
A handful of halved blanched almonds (these are optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.
Mix in the flour, cinnamon and peel until you have a dough.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of around 1cm.
Using Christmas cookie cutters cut the dough and place onto the baking tray.
Decorate with the almond halves and then bake for around ten minutes until they are a lovely golden-brown.
Leave for five minutes then more to a rack to cool before eating!
Light mince pies
We all love mince pies but many come packed with extra sugar and stodgy pasty. This recipe is easy to make, tastes great but is as light on the lips as it is on the hips.
5 sheets of filo pastry
25g/1oz unsalted, melted butter
150g/5½oz mincemeat – find an organic one with lots of fruit or make it yourself
125g/4½oz ripe, chopped pears (you can use tinned)
50g/1¾oz chopped clementines
2 teaspoons of cornflour
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Brush 12 muffin tins with melted butter.
Mix the mincemeat with the pears, clementines and cornflour in a bowl until the cornflour has dissolved.
Brush the first sheet of pastry with melted butter and place another sheet on top, brush again with butter. Add a 3rd sheet of pastry and once again brush with butter. Cut the pastry stack into 12 pieces and then press a piece of filo into each compartment of the muffin tin.
Divide the mincemeat between the pastry lined cases.
Butter the remaining sheets of pasty and cut each piece into six. Scrunch up the pieces and put one on top of each mince pie making the perfect festive hat.
Cook for around 15 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp but be careful not to burn as it is a delicate taste.
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before placing on a rack then enjoy with crème fresh.
With champagne and coctails flowing freely, sometimes it is nice to refresh with something non-alcoholic. This Christmas smoothie not only tastes lovely but is bursting with goodness.
180ml/6fl oz clementine juice
40g/1½oz porridge oats
320g/11oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 ripe peeled pears
1 tablespoon of honey
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
Handful of ice cubes
This is super-simple given how amazing it tastes.
Soak the oats for 20 minutes before you make the smoothie.
Place all the ingredients in a food mixer and blend together.
Add ice to glasses, pour and drink.