FESTIVE FUN! Bringing Healthy Food Ideas to Christmas
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
One of the greatest things about the Christmas period has got to be the food! Tis’ the season for gingerbread cookies, eggnog, roasted turkey with all the trimmings and if you’re an Aussie family, you’re probably no stranger to a shrimp or two on the barbie. Christmas is definitely a time for indulgence, but a little balance and some healthy swaps can make it all the more nutritious.
This year, our OSCAR Care Group Dietetic Team are proud to be bringing you some fantastic festive recipes full of traditional Christmas cheer with a nutritious flair and a guaranteed good time in the kitchen! These recipes are kid-friendly and we are sure the little ones will have a ball helping you prepare them – after all, getting kids into the kitchen is one of the many great ways to encourage healthy relationships with food.
Rudolph rice cakes
A quick to assemble, healthy snack that is perfect for kids at Christmas time! You only need a few staple ingredients for this recipe and they are likely already in your pantry at home (yay for skipping those Christmas shopping checkout queues!).
Hummus is a delicious source of protein and healthy fats which are essential for supporting growth, development and repair of little bodies. But don’t be fooled, this snack is not just great for the kids, but adults will find them equally as delicious!
To make this recipe gluten free, sub out the pretzels for gluten free varieties (e.g. Wallaby brand). If you do not have a nut allergy, peanut butter is a great alternative to hummus! Use olives for the eyes and a cherry tomato for the nose.
Ensure cherry stones are removed prior to serving, especially if being served to small children.
1 brown rice cakes OR multigrain corn thins
2 tablespoons hummus
2 sultanas or raisins
1 fresh cherry, pittd (or raspberry is even better!)
Spread the peanut butter evenly over the surface of the rice cakes or corn thins to cover.
Top with 2 raisins for eyes, pretzels for antlers and the cherry for Rudolph’s red nose!
The kids will have a great time creating a healthy and nutritious snack for Santa’s reindeer this year. They’ll be happy to know that this treat is suitable for humas too and makes a great festive breakfast – what’s not to love!
Oats are one of the healthiest grains! They are packed full of a special type of fibre called beta-glucan which studies have shown can help lower cholesterol, increase satiety and help with weight management, lower blood sugar levels and improve heart health. They are also a great source of energy through their high carbohydrate and B vitamin content.
The green and red colours from the cranberries and pistachios brings that classic festive cheer to this granola mix; however, you can choose to mix up the flavourings, fruit, nuts and seeds in this recipe to suit your own personal preferences. You can sub out cranberries for sultanas or raisins, use almonds or peanuts in place of pistachios, and go adventures with your seeds by adding chia or hemp seeds for an added nutritional boost.
300g rolled oats
50g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
4 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
200g dried cranberries (craisins)
Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius.
Combine all ingredients (except for the cranberries) in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Spread the mixture out evenly in a single layer amongst 2 baking trays and bake for 40 minutes, tossing it occasionally. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before stirring though the cranberries.
Store granola in an aitright container for up to 2 months. Serve granola with greek yoghurt or milk for a wholesome breakfast.
Check out our FREE Colouring in Placemats to match this recipe!
Festive and fun whilst providing a boost of nutrition, these snowmen are sure to be a hit with kids. Combining all your favourite fruits, these adorable snacks take no time to make, can be prepared ahead of time and give a natural energy boost without any nasties. Not to mention they are gluten-free, diary-free, nut-free and vegan friendly!
Bananas are a fantastic source of low-GI carbohydrates, meaning they provide us with the long-lasting energy we need to go about our day. Bananas are a great snack due to their convenience – they are portable, handheld, don’t require refrigeration or cooking and of course they taste delicious! Bananas are also rich in potassium which is optimal for our heart health and fibre which aids digestion.
Should you wish to prepare these snacks ahead of time, please ensure to squeeze some lemon juice over your bananas to prevent them from oxidising and discolouring.
If making these for young children, break off the pointy end of the skewer.
2 medium bananas, peeled, sliced into thick rings
¼ of a carrot, peeled, chopped into small triangles
3 strawberries, hulled and halved
3 grapes, halved
Handful of currents
To assemble the snowmen – thread 3 slices of banana onto each skewer (for the body), followed by a strawberry (for the hat) and a grape (for the pompom). Gently press the currents into the banana for the eyes and buttons and add the carrot nose.
Serve on their own or with some Greek yoghurt as a wholesome snack.
Fruity Santa Hats
This recipe is easy, fun and doesn’t require any baking! These Santa hats can be eaten as a snack or used as a festive decoration to your Christmas desserts. Naturally gluten-free and free of added sugars, the whole family will love these bite sized snacks this Christmas season.
Strawberries are the epitome of summer fruits in Australia. When in their prime, strawberries are sweet and juicy which is why they are much loved by kids and adults. Did you know strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange, are a good source of fluid for keeping us hydrated during the warmer months and are low-GI so they are suitable for people living with diabetes.
6 large strawberries, hulled
1 small banana, peeled and sliced into thick rings
¼ cup cottage cheese
Handful of craisins
Prepare the strawberries by cutting a slice off the bottom of the strawberry to act as the base of your Santa (approx. 1-2cm thickness). Reserve the remaining strawberry for the top.
Spread the strawberry slices thickly with cottage cheese, pushing it right to the edge (doesn’t matter if some spills out of the side).
Top the cheese with the banana slice and strawberry tops. Gently press the craisins into the banana slices to act as eyes.
Christmas Yoghurt Bark
Nothing hits home like a frozen treat after a long Summer’s day. Instead of opting for sugar filled ice cream or icy poles, why not try some yoghurt bark? This festive treat is bright, colourful, sweet and tangy and is an exceptional way to hydrate and cool down after time playing in the backyard. Make it in advance for a quick and easy, ready-to-grab snack – super convenient for the hustle and bustle of the Christmas period.
Yoghurt is one of the few foods that contains probiotics which are good bacteria that help to encourage healthy intestinal balance, function and good immune health. It is also an excellent source of calcium for strong bones and teeth, protein for growth and counts as a fluid source to help maintain hydration.
You can mix up the ingredients in this recipe to suit your own personal preferences! Raspberries can be replaced with strawberries, you can use honey instead of jam and mix up your dried fruit and nuts. Remove the nuts if catering for an allergy.
2 cups Greek style yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¼ cup raspberry jam
½ cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Line a large, flat baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the yoghurt and vanilla in a bowl and mix well until combined. Pour onto the tray and spread into an even layer.
Dot the jam over the yoghurt using a spoon and swirl through o create a marbled effect with a skewer or flat knife.
Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the yoghurt and freeze until firm.
To serve, break or cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Lauren Goffredo, Accredited Practising Dietitian for OSCAR Care Group