Healthy Christmas Meal Ideas

‘Tis the season for festive functions, whether it be work break-ups, school concerts, barbeques with friends and neighbours. It is always lovely to contribute to a meal during this busy time of year. But what to bring?

There are many options when it comes to be making health Christmas meals and snack that are fun and will be loved by many. If you’re feeling creative and have a little time up your sleeve, you can decorate cacao based energy or protein balls with a little white chocolate and some red berries or chopped goji berries to look like little Christmas puddings. Cut strawberries in half across the middle and fill with cream cheese before putting back together to resemble little Santa’s or Santa hats.

Dips and fruit platters are great options to share amongst a larger group such as Herby Green Hummus with vegetables and crispy pita bread and are a lighter option than creamy cheeses and rich marinated vegetables. For savoury options, try Rice Paper Rolls for warm Melbourne evenings or pick up a sushi platter if you’re pressed for time. Knock the socks off the party guests at your next barbeque with a Moroccan Chicken Freekah Salad or Thai Chicken Salad.

This Quick No-Bake Panforte Bite recipe is a great option as it is quick to prepare is gluten free and can easily be made nut free for school functions by swapping the nuts out for seeds. It takes the delicious festive flavours from an Italian Panforte, but doesn’t need to be baked, so you can keep the house cool!

Quick No-Bake Panforte Bites

1 cup cocoa butter or coconut oil
3 tbsp raw cacao
3 tbsp nut butter (or tahini for nut free)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1⁄2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rice malt or maple syrup
1⁄2 cup dried fruit (goji berries, figs, dates, cherries or cranberries)
1 cup raw mixed nuts (or a further cup of seeds – pistachio, almonds, cashews, macadamias)
1 cup mixed seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp course sea salt

1. Place the cocoa butter or coconut oil, cacao, nut butter, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla and syrup in a small saucepan and gently heat until the oil or butter has just melted (about a minute).
2. Remove the chocolate mix from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pinch sea salt
4. Line a slice tray with baking paper and pour the mixture into the tray, spreading evenly.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt.
6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 1 inch pieces.

Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner

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