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Updated 22 February 2013

8 healthy ideas to ease into the new year

Everyone over indulges at Christmas time. Here are eight healthy ideas to ease you into the New Year

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Everyone over indulges at Christmas time, which sadly means two things; our waistlines will suffer and we find it even more of a challenge to go cold turkey in the New Year. Many of us want to continue the indulgent eating into January but there needs to come a point where you get back to reality. To help make this reality not so harsh, we have rounded up 8 healthy ideas to ease you into the New Year.

Stuffed

A great way to use leftovers, stuffed peppers or mushrooms are also a satisfying and filling food option that will save you reaching for seconds. Using plenty of vegetables and flavours such as chilli, tomatoes and spring onions you will have a filling, comforting meal without the unwanted kilojoules. A healthy alternative to your festive roast potatoes and stuffing, this dish will also count towards your five a day.

Muffin top

Rather than reaching for the leftover Christmas pudding try making some healthy muffins. Using flavours such as cinnamon and honey instead of sugar, and vegetable oil rather than butter, you will have a sweet treat without adding to your muffin top! Ditch the mince pies and get baking, throwing in some seeds and dried fruit for good measure.

Healthy toastie

This classic warming comfort food doesn’t have to be a belly buster; there are lighter options that are just as satisfying. Try using wholemeal wraps instead of bread and fill them with beans, spring onion, avocado and a sprinkling of cheddar. Toast until golden and you’ll have a healthy Mexican dish that won’t pile on the kilos like the festive brie and cranberry version. Adding spices will tantalise your taste buds and prevent you seeking flavour in less healthy options.

Chocolate cravings

Chocolate features greatly in many a Christmas family home, but it can be so hard to resist in the New Year when the glistening wrappers are tempting you. To satisfy your sugar craving, and so you’re not missing out completely, opt for a few squares of dark chocolate or Brazil nuts and dried fruit dipped in dark chocolate. The antioxidants will see you through the cold weather when you’re prone to feeling run down.

Take it away!

Despite feeling tired and in need of comfort in January don’t automatically order a takeaway. To replace your favourite Indian takeaway, opt instead for a homemade vegetable curry, packed with spinach, chick peas and tomatoes, as well as the essential spices and chillies to keep your immune system in check. As a comforting yet healthy replacement for your Chinese takeaway, consider a noodle stir-fry with prawns. The protein from the prawns will keep you fuller for longer and save you reaching for the phone to order your usual.

Risotto

Risotto can be seen as a stodgy and rich dish, but only if you have a cream and butter laden one. There are lots of lighter risotto options that are just as comforting and satisfying and make a nice alternative to common indulgences like macaroni cheese. Try butternut squash, sage and chestnut risotto for a healthy yet festive meal. Risotto is also a great way to use leftover meats, vegetables and herbs from the Christmas dinner.

Have a salad

Don’t be put off just yet! Yes, salad doesn’t sound like the most comforting replacement for the rich Christmas foods you long to continue eating into the New Year, but there are lots of interesting ways to make the humble salad more filling and exciting. The more colourful the salad the better, to beat those post-Christmas blues.

Tipple

A common New Year’s resolution is to go teetotal, but if that seems as if it will be too much of a shock to the system after your booze filled break then try instead lighter alcoholic options. A small glass of anti-oxidant rich red wine is a good place to start, especially if you warm it up with slices of orange and a sprinkle of cinnamon to continue that festive feeling. Or, there are in fact many brands of non-alcoholic beers and wines available, not forgetting that on a night out you can have some fruity ‘mocktails.’

(Realbuzz.com, December 2012)

(Picture: Woman eating salad from Shutterstock)

More on Realbuzz:

Top 10 ways to improve your diet in 2013

5 fun diet and fitness alternatives

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