Eating over the festive season is part of the fun, but all your hard work to get in shape for summer shouldn’t be compensated by endless indulgent meals! This year, when you host family and friends, why not consider serving healthier versions of classic holiday dishes? Here are some ideas from Pick n Pay’s dietician Leanne Kiezer for how you can adapt your recipes so that they are more balanced, lower in fat and include plenty of vegetables and fruit.
- Offer healthier snack options like lean biltong or chopped vegetable crudités with a reduced-fat hummus dip, or smoked salmon, cottage cheese and capers on cubes of low GI seed bread.
- Choose a lean beef, pork or lamb roast, and bake or grill the meat on a rack so that the excess fat can drip off the meat.
- Use a pastry brush to brush oil onto the meat, as pouring the oil causes you to use much more than you need.
- Rather than a whole chicken with the skin intact, choose individual portions of skinless chicken breasts and thighs for roasting. Check out our Mediterranean-style Chicken Bake recipe – delicious.
- Instead of bread crumbs, use rolled oats or crushed bran cereal for stuffing. Also add extra sautéed vegetables to your stuffing, like carrot, mushrooms, onion and celery.
- If your holiday recipe calls for bacon, choose back bacon with its excess fat removed.
- Choose one starch side dish like rice or sweet potatoes. If opting for rice, choose wild rice, brown rice or pearl barley which offers a source of fibre. If potatoes are your festive favourites, try our Grape, Goats Cheese and Red Onion Stuffed Sweet Potatoes rather than deep fried potatoes.
- Make plenty of vegetable side dishes available (remember these should fill half your plate!), like this Ricotta, Walnut and Butternut Salad or Buttery Shredded Brussel Sprouts.
- Use fat-free or low oil dressing and flavoured vinegars for salads, or make your own low-oil dressings at home.
- For dips and sauces made from mayonnaise, rather use a mixture of low oil salad cream and plain low fat yoghurt.
- If your recipe calls for plain or cake flour, halve the amount and replace with wholewheat flour in baked goods.
- Instead of cream, use low fat evaporated milk in recipes (although not suitable for whipping).
- Substitute apple sauce for half of the shortening or oil in your recipe.
- Use variations of plain yoghurt with fresh fruit slices for your desserts – the fruit adds natural sweetness to the recipe, so there is no need for added sugar.
- Serve fruit canned in its own juices (with the juice drained), or fresh fruit with jelly and lite custard.
Pick n Pay Health Hotline
Did you know that Pick n Pay employs a registered dietitian to provide free food and nutrition-related advice to the public? Contact Leanne via the Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or email her directly on
firstname.lastname@example.org to start your nutrition conversation.
It’s mid-December, which means we’re all ready to kick back, relax and feast with our friends and family… But does December have to be decadent? Not with the right recipes! Leanne Kiezer, Pick n Pay’s dietician, has shared some delicious – and healthy – festive recipes with us. Here’s to happy holidays (and happy blood sugar!)
Mediterranean-style Chicken Bake
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 8 skinless chicken thighs, on the bone
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 red onions, peeled and cut into crescents
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2.5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup wild rice
- 250 g cocktail tomatoes
- 10 Kalamata olives
- 3 tbsp. oregano, chopped
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees
- Grease a casserole dish with non-stick spray
- Place chicken, lemon, salt, onion and garlic into the dish, and toss to combine
- Roast for about 15 minutes
- Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to roast for 25 minutes, or until cooked through
- Scatter with oregano before serving
Grape, Goats Cheese and Red Onion Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 20 ml olive oil
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 cups seedless red grapes
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 red onion, cut into wedges
- 200g goats cheese
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Rub with oil, salt and pepper
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until almost cooked through
- Toss grapes, rosemary and onion on baking tray with sweet potatoes
- Bake for 10 more minutes
- Slit sweet potatoes down the middle and scoop out some flesh
- Mash with half the goats cheese. Season, and spoon back into cavity
- Top sweet potatoes with remaining goats cheese, grapes, onion and rosemary bits
Buttery Shredded Brussel Sprouts
- 20ml canola oil
- 300g Brussel sprouts, finely shredded
- 5ml lemon zest
- 50g pecan nuts, toasted
- 100g Pecorino cheese, grated
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry Brussel sprouts until wilted
- Toss through remaining ingredients and serve
Ricotta, Walnut and Butternut Salad
- 150 g butternut cubes, roasted
- 125 ml ricotta, crumbled
- 30 g walnuts, toasted
- 2 gem lettuce, shredded
- 1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
- 5ml olive oil
- 15ml balsamic vinegar
- Toss salad ingredients together
- Whisk oil and vinegar together
- Dress and season salad just before serving
Take a pic if you make any of these for your festive feast, and share it with us on Facebook! We’d love to see…
Not sure what to make for dinner? Let us help! Check out our delicious free diabetes-friendly recipes to get ideas for dinner that are tasty, healthy and good for people with diabetes (and all those without diabetes!)
You’ll find recipes for:
- Spinach and Leek Pie
- Grilled Boerie, Cauli Mash and Relish
- Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
- Baba Ganoush with Tortilla Crisps
- Guilt-free Baked Chicken
- Hearty Beef and Bean Soup
- Delicious Chicken Barley Salad
All with nutritional information to ensure you know the carbohydrate count, protein and fibre in each dish.
Looking for a specific diabetes recipe? Let us know!
And don’t forget to check out our free diabetes cookbook, which you can read online or download and print out.
Here’s to healthy, delicious, diabetes-friendly meals!