December 25, 2020

12 healthy meals with Christmas food leftovers

Avoid festive weight gain, bloating and lethargy with clever ideas to transform Christmas food leftovers into light, healthy meals. 

It’s easy for Christmas day feasting to turn into a week of ‘buffet grazing’. While exceeding your energy needs on a single day is unlikely to affect body weight or health markers, a week or two might. Adapt your Christmas Day leftovers with these healthy ‘transformations’. (Make sure you follow food safety recommendations for storage, re-freezing and safe consumption timings.)

The salad: Make your salad leftover-ready by serving dressing on the side (otherwise it will go soggy).

  1. Use leafy salads to bulk up wholemeal or wholegrain wraps with leftover sliced pork, turkey, chicken or ham (skin and fat removed).
  2. Turn a leafy salad into a hearty meal by adding other leftovers such as pieces of roast vegetables. For protein, throw in some cheese cubes from the platter.
  3. Put ‘special’ ingredients you wouldn’t usually buy to use and create an exotic salad. Think leftover prawns and mango pieces. Combine with leafy greens.

The ham:

  1. Dice sliced ham (fat removed) and stir it into an omelette or scrambled eggs. Add spinach or other leaves from leftover salad and wilt.
  2. Scatter diced ham across a wholemeal or wholegrain pita pizza.
  3. Pan-fry diced ham and use as an alternative to bacon in cauliflower ‘fried rice’ (simply rice fresh cauliflower in a food processor and use in place of regular rice). Add scrambled eggs and vegetables such as peas and carrot.

The seafood:

  1. Serve smoked salmon on wholegrain toast with avocado and mushrooms or tomato.
  2. Mince cooked seafood to create seafood patties (this can be done with cooked salmon, white fish, or a mix of both). This is also a good way to use up leftover mashed potato.
  3. Throw cooked seafood items such as prawns and mussels into a tomato-based marinara sauce served over zucchini pasta (zoodles) or wholemeal pasta.

The fruit:

  1. Repurpose fruit pieces or fruit salad by adding to a savoury salad with leafy greens and cooked seafood (prawns, smoked salmon or fish). Good options include segments of mango or orange or mandarin or cubes of melon.
  2. Make healthy frozen treats by blending leftover fruit with plain Greek yoghurt and freezing in ice cube trays or icy pole moulds.
  3. Add small pieces of fruit to muesli or porridge (stir through plain yoghurt for a cafe-style breakfast).

If your new year goals include a healthy eating overhaul or you’re keen to establish healthy eating practices you can maintain all year, consider consulting an accredited practising dietitian (APD).

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We honour the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay our respects to all Elders, past and present.
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