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).
- Use leafy salads to bulk up wholemeal or wholegrain wraps with leftover sliced pork, turkey, chicken or ham (skin and fat removed).
- 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.
- 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.
- Dice sliced ham (fat removed) and stir it into an omelette or scrambled eggs. Add spinach or other leaves from leftover salad and wilt.
- Scatter diced ham across a wholemeal or wholegrain pita pizza.
- 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.
- Serve smoked salmon on wholegrain toast with avocado and mushrooms or tomato.
- 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.
- Throw cooked seafood items such as prawns and mussels into a tomato-based marinara sauce served over zucchini pasta (zoodles) or wholemeal pasta.
- 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.
- Make healthy frozen treats by blending leftover fruit with plain Greek yoghurt and freezing in ice cube trays or icy pole moulds.
- 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).