Food, Glorious Real Food!

 

The season of feasting is fast approaching, with food, glorious food, magical food, wonderful food, marvellous food, beautiful food, glorious real food at the centre of our celebrations.

This is the time of year to indulge, but don’t just fall back on the old standard favourites, let your hair down and experiment with some new tastes and flavours. In the process it just might revolutionise your life. Each little morsel we highlight today is not only a delicious tasty treat, but is accompanied by a little titbit of information that will amaze you.

Enjoy great taste while doing yourself good

It’s easy to over indulge at this time of year, so interspersing some of the excess with real food can help the digestion. You can’t beat real food such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes when it comes to lightening the load. Nature’s very own portable and pre-packaged produce, many are ready made to be eaten raw and on the go, helping to keep hunger at bay and providing snacking options that are sweet, juicy, crispy and succulent. Highly versatile, you can dip them, slice them, crunch them or cook them in endless ways.

How to eat ten-a-day during the Christmas food fest

Start with breakfast – add fruits or berries to your creamy porridge

If you are a ‘snacker’ – make it dried fruit, seeds and nuts

For lunch – add lettuce, cucumber and tomato to your turkey sandwich – or try a salad or vegetable soup. Add fruit to your dessert – think sweet juicy clementine or exotic lychees.

Dinner – Choose starters and main meals with vegetables, like stews and stir-fries and replace chips with salad, or add extra veggies rather than more meat to your cooking

These are all simple rules that will work very effectively, but in anticipation of possible objections, let’s deal with a few upfront:

“Vegetables take too long to prepare!’

  • Pre-plan. Cut extra veggies when you prep a meal and keep them in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Use frozen pre-prepared.
  • For those that can afford it, buy pre-cut.

‘Fresh fruit and vegetables are so expensive!’

  • Buy what’s in season – it will be plentiful and cheaper. Alternatively buy canned (in natural, unsweetened juice) or frozen. Canned or frozen can be just as nutritious as fresh, indeed they may even retain their nutrients better than some fresh products, depending upon transit times or how long they have languished in the fridge
  • Buy dried beans, lentils and pulses
  • To save money use fruit, vegetables or legumes to replace more expensive meats

‘My fresh fruit and veg always go off before I get around to eating them!’

  • Buy only enough fresh fruit and vegetables for three or four days – but if you want to buy for longer and have limited fridge or freezer space, cool boxes left outside in the cold (with a brick on top to keep them secure) can help over the festive season
  • Don’t store bananas in the fridge

So there you have it – the most fantastic feasting foods on the planet are also some of the most healthy and nutritious – and for those concerned about the environment, as well as health and well-being, these real foods are also the most environmentally disposable – so lots of reasons to feel good about yourself this yuletide.

Some fun real food facts

Never feel full – not even when feasting?

People who include more healthy fats in their diet, such as olive oil, nuts or avocado eat less than people who do not get enough fat. Fat helps the body feel full and satiate the brain receptors that control appetite.

Struggling with eating salads?

Holiday salads can taste great by adding a boiled or poached egg or two to the salad. Not only will it boost the flavour, combined with a variety of vegetables it can improve the absorption of carotenoids – fat-soluble nutrients – that aid in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Eggs are a nutrient-rich food, which contain essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and B-vitamins, making them a tasty addition, but it also appears that the lipid in the whole egg enhances the absorption of beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. So, go to lunch on an egg – it will make for a tastier meal as well as boost the benefits your body derives from the salad.

Worried about cholesterol?

Even the most dedicated party animal will reach their limit and might start worrying about the fallout. So worth bearing in mind the Scandinavian lingonberry appears to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol, primarily it seems due to their polyphenol content.  Blackcurrants and bilberries also have a similar effect.

Need a late morning ‘lift’?

A piece of dark chocolate, high in cacao content (70% or more), could improve attention span which could be important when hitting that midday energy slump.

Gym bunny food tip

If during the celebrations you decide to work off some of the excess in the gym, to maximise the benefit fuel up with blueberries before and after a work-out as it may aid in muscles regaining strength faster and lower levels of exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Feasting rule number 1

When it comes to feasting make sure to provide plenty of real food. Buying fresh food and preparing it makes for the best feasting celebrations. ENJOY!

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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