Our food may get lighter on warm days, but there still could be hidden kilojoules. Dietitian Nigel Denby has healthy eating tips to see you through the festive season.
You’d think this time of year would mean you can relax about dieting, wouldn’t you? Super healthy salads, tall, cool drinks, and guilt-free desserts. Well, think again – summer foods can be just as kilojoule, fat and sugar-laden as stodgy winter meals.
If you’re keen to make sure no kilograms creep on, follow these healthy eating tips.
These are quick to make, and are tasty as supper dishes or sides for braais. But all too often, they’re dripping in mayo-based dressings which can add over 400 kilojoules to every serving. Get into the habit of roasting some veg such as peppers, onions, tomatoes, in a little olive oil and then stir through pasta with some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Try our Trofie Pasta Salad With Tomatoes and Peppers for a vitamin C boost! If you want to go easy on the carbs too, then swap pasta for pulses, and get a protein boost instead.
Instead of chips and handfuls of nuts, serve cocktails with wasabi-flavoured rice crackers. They’re low in unhealthy fats, but the savoury kick makes them perfect with drinks! Other great snacks include vegetable cruditès with a healthy dip like hummus or Tzatziki. If you have a sweet tooth, rather choose 1-2 pieces of dried fruit instead of chocolate, sweets or cake. Dates are a great option!
Swamping veggies in oil ruins what could be a bowl of filling goodness. Any dressing that contains mayonnaise can be made with fat-free plain yoghurt instead, saving more than half the kilojoules. There are really great low-fat mayos available too. You could also use tahini, which is a type of sesame paste. A little goes a long way!
Try our delicious Cauliflower Salad With Tahini Dressing. It’s packed with healthy plant-based proteins such as lentils and brown rice, as well as herbs for an extra health kick.
Avoid red meat and include more chicken, veggies and seafood on your plate. Hake and Angelfish are two meaty white fish that lend themselves to braaing. They work well with marinades made with garlic, lemon and olive oil, or sundried-tomato paste and oregano for a Mediterranean flavour. King prawns, cherry tomatoes, and red onion make tasty kebabs, or go vegetarian with smoked tofu. Don’t forget to foil wrap mielies with black pepper and a brush of butter to cook your protein.
Ice-cream based treats will pile on the fat and kilojoules before you touch the sauce, choc or nuts. Ice-cream is about 780 kilojoules per 100ml (about 2 scoops), whereas low-fat frozen yoghurt is around 706 kilojoules. For a creamier alternative, try Greek-style yoghurt, at 250 kilojoules. Fruit sorbet is slightly higher at 338 kilojoules and contains sugar, but is still better for you than ice-cream.
They’re great for parties but you’d be surprised how laden with fat they can be, like a Pina Colada, which has around 750 kilojoules. Instead of creamy cocktails or sugar-filled fruit juice, rather opt for tall, sparkling iced drinks with soda water.
To make a Sour Apple Mojito…
Use one shot of vodka, sour apple liquer, a squeeze of lime, and top it up with some soda water.
To make a Cassis Collins…
Use one shot of vodka, crème de cassis, squeeze of lemon, and top up with soda water.
Going to restaurants is all part of a holiday, but don’t make it the route to your diet downfall. The worst thing is to starve all day to save kilojoules. You’ll be so hungry by the time you get to dinner, you’ll have no chance of making sensible choices. Have a snack before you go out, and you might not even need a starter or dessert. Choose simply-cooked food, such as grilled fish and meat and ask for sauces on the side, so you can use less.