How to host a healthy festive meal

How to host a healthy festive meal

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.

For starters

  • 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.

For mains

  • 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.

For dessert

  • 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
healthhotline@pnp.co.za to start your nutrition conversation.

Photo by Lee Myungseong on Unsplash


Posted on: December 18, 2018__Sweet Life__

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