‘The festive season can be a tricky time to stick to healthy portion sizes and foods. We’re often prone to overindulge during the year-end holidays, or buy lots of ready-made foods to save on time,’ says Candice Smith, Head of Vitality’s nutrition strategy.
In fact, research shows that it’s becoming increasingly uncommon to prepare meals from scratch using raw ingredients. Which explains why sales of convenient and fast foods are skyrocketing. In South Africa, there has been an increase in the sales of packaged foods in almost every category, with that of ready-made meals, snack bars and instant noodles rising by over 40% between 2005 and 2010.
‘This isn’t a good sign,’ says Candice, ‘Packaged and processed foods are often low in vitamins and minerals, and high in hidden salt and sugar – the overconsumption of which is linked to a higher risk of conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.’
Home-cooking generally makes for more nutritious meals, as recipes tend to use more whole ingredients and less condiments. By not preparing meals themselves, people are also spending more money, and missing out on practising and sharing valuable life skills.
Break that trend with these 5 festive recipes:
Fresh, seasonal ingredients, real nutrition and sustainable eating all come together with a dash of delicious at the Vitality HealthyFood Studio. This crisp, tangy starter is a great example – the herbs and vegetables are whole and in season, while salmon and other oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health.
Seared salmon sesame salad with pickles
The main attraction
Nothing’s as hearty as a good Christmas roast. Pairing this delicious turkey recipe with these creative veggie sides ensures you’ll get a healthy helping of greens and beans. ‘Legumes like beans and whole grains like millet are packed with vitamins and minerals,’ says Candice. ‘They also fill you up fast and keep you full for longer.’
Chermoula-roasted turkey with millet, dried apricot and almond stuffing
Asparagus with romesco garnish
Garlic white bean mash
Silky, light dessert
The festive season brings out the sweet tooth in all of us. ‘Rather than depriving yourself, enjoy treats on occasion as part of a balanced diet,’ says Candice. ‘By adding nutritious elements, you can indulge while still getting a health boost.’
Berry trifles with pistachio and coconut
See if you can make your everyday meals a touch healthier by trying out these savvy swaps:
Stand the chance to win!
Share any #LifeGoals recipe – the one you’re really proud of – with Discovery Vitality, and stand a chance to win a R5 000 Woolworths Food voucher for all your festive food shopping!
Simply take a photo of your creation, use the hashtag #LifeGoals, and tag @DiscoveryVitality and @EssentialsMagazineSA on Facebook or @Discovery_SA and @essentialsmagSA on Twitter to enter. Terms and conditions apply. Competition ends on 10 December.
The Vitality HealthyFood Studio
Fresh, seasonal ingredients, real nutrition and sustainable eating all come together with a dash of delicious as part of the new Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio – a teaching and dining kitchen located in Sandton, Johannesburg where you can take part in fun and interactive cooking classes to help ignite a life-long love of healthy, appetising cooking. The Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio has been proudly launched in partnership with Woolworths and Prue Leith Chefs Academy. Book a course at www.healthyfoodstudio.co.za