Christmas Carols and Calories - Sing aloud But Keep your Heart Healthy

Christmas Carols and Calories - Sing aloud But Keep your Heart Healthy

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"At Christmas, all roads lead home." - Marjorie Holmes.

And as you get into holiday and festive mood the heart sings -

“Now Christmas comes, ''tis fit that we
should feast and sing, and merry be:
Keep open house, let fidlers play.
A fig for cold, sing care away;
And may they who thereat repine,
On brown bread and on small beer dine.” - from the 1766 ‘Virginia Almanack’

How to Keep your Heart Healthy During Christmas?

A report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) reveals that on an average, a person consumes about 7000 calories on the Christmas day.

To overcome and burn this calorie surge would require -
  • 270 Minutes brisk walk.
  • 37 minutes of intensive ice skating to burn calories from one mince pie.
Refined flour, heavy meats, refined sugar, alcohol, saturated fats and large portions all are inimical to a healthy heart.

During Christmas the main course of meats like turkey, pork, sauces, Christmas pudding, and mince pies all can be stressful to the heart. One can make merry and yet keep the heart healthy with some smart tips and masterstroke swaps.

Heart Healthy Christmas

Ways to Reduce Calorie Consumption on Christmas

Eat your Breakfast

Amidst the festivities, hustle and bustle, late nights and decoration errands, do not forget your breakfast. As the rule goes breakfast should be a 400-500 calorie meal, rich in protein and fiber but low in fat and carbohydrates. A satiating breakfast stops you from overeating for the whole day especially during mid meals. Low-fat ice-cream, or dark chocolates consumed during breakfast within the calorie quota, helps to increase moods and satiation.

Water Everywhere

Do not give water a miss. Drink enough water and fluids to keep the body well hydrated. Drinking water half an hour before meals and during mid meals helps to drastically cut mindless cravings.

You can choose fruits, herbs or flower infused water to add zest to the festivities.

Fruits Are Low Hanging

The plate and table should not be devoid of fruits. Fruits added in desserts and snacks helps to reduce total calorie intake of the Christmas day. Fruit yogurt, fruit infused water, fruit smoothies and snacks like baked cinnamon apple & pears make great hors d'oeuvre.

Include More Fruits in your Christmas Treats

Cut Your Corners

Use a small plate to reduce the size of your meals, snacks and desserts even if the popular Christmas foods like mince pies, meat, and wine are consumed.

Never Be On Empty Stomach

It is said that never visit anyone with empty hands. It also said, that never visit someone, while you are hungry. Hunger will force you to overeat and over drink. Self-esteem comes from within and not from food binging.

Be a Smart Host

Choose fresh juices, fruit smoothies, yogurt fruit dessert, salsa, sprouts, roasted nuts, baked potatoes or green vegetables, bean dips and hummus over traditional high-fat and high-sugar snacks. Crackers can be made from chia seeds and flaxseeds. Chips can be baked fresh at home from sweet potatoes, kale, beetroot and others. Your guests will appreciate your innovations.


Choose milk thistle tea, green tea or tomato juice to detox. Milk thistle is known to detox the liver.

Milk Thistle for Liver Detoxification


Walk and jog; do yoga and breathing exercises to burn extra calories and stay fit. Take your dog for a walk. Winter is a season that witnesses spikes in number of heart attacks and strokes. Keep yourself warm, reduce sodium intake and take generous doses of dietary potassium. If you snore intensively or feel fatigue consult a cardiologist immediately.

Smart Swaps
Avoid Switch to
Turkey, Other MeatTurkey and meats without the skin.
Sausage meat stuffing in main course and mince piesFruit, dried fruits, nuts based stuffing for mince pies and meat main course.
Cream laden GravyGravy made from tomato puree, nut paste, meat or vegetable stock.
Vegetable sides laden in creamRoasted or baked seasonal vegetables. Dressings made from lemon juice, olive oil, herbs.  
Cream for pudding and saucesSkim milk for pudding and sauces
SaucesHomemade sauces
Cream dipsBean dips, salsa
Macadamia nutsAlmonds
WineMulled wine with a fruit juice; White wine spritzer, Infused water
Sherry TrifleBrandy
Salted peanutsPretzels
Cheese straw or BhajiFlaxseeds, chia seeds crackers; Baked vegetable chips; or Whole wheat bread stick
Salmon (any fish) with creamSalmon sushi
Refined sugarDates, figs, sweet potatoes for sweetness
Heavy soupClear soup or non cream soup made of squash, sweet potato, carrot or cruciferous vegetables
Vegetable sides with potatoes, corn and peasAsparagus, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables. Brussels sprouts and any other seasonal vegetable along with main course.
Traditional CakeTraditional cake with olive oil, almond meal, whole wheat flour and avocado puree.
Fried snacksSalads with raw vegetables, fruits. Roasted potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts.  
Sugary CocktailsDetox Water
Heavy Desserts like puddingCinnamon Apple Bakes, crepes, wedges made with fruits
  • Turkey is lean meat but its skin treasures most of the fat. Skinless turkey has less calories and the breast is lighter than the legs or thighs of the meat. Lean red meat like beef tenderloin and pork tenderloin can also be tried.
  • Instead of using meat stuffing in turkey or mince pies, switch to fruit-and-nut-based stuffing.
  • Fruit, dried fruits, nuts, seasonal vegetables, sprouts, salsa are nutrient dense foods. They are rich in folate, vitamins, potassium and minerals. They have less calories and high satiety. Their intake will help reduce consumption of meat portions. Nuts and seeds are rich in heart healthy omega fatty acids.
  • Instead of creamy vegetables use dressings of extra virgin olive oil; fresh lemon or orange juice; vinegar; mustard; black pepper and fresh herbs and spices.
  • Homemade sauces have less salt.
  • Asparagus, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables are light and have less starch. Tomatoes are rich in heart health lycopene that prevent clogging of heart.
  • Use of olive oil, almond meal, whole wheat flour and avocado puree in place of butter and refined flour makes the cake healthier. Olive oil, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), plant-based fats found in some of the world''s most delicious foods.

Savory – Vegetable Side

Cranberry & Red Cabbage

  • 1 medium size red cabbage, shredded
  • 300- 400 ml apple juice, fresh preferred
  • 200-300g cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 medium size onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • Heat the oil over medium flame
  • Saute shredded onions till slightly soft
  • Stir in the shredded cabbage, till it begins to soften.
  • Add apple juice and seasonings and let it cook, till the cabbage is tender.
  • Once the cabbage is tender, add cranberries and cook for 5 minutes. Cabbage takes 30-40 minutes to cook.
  • Add juniper berries.
  • Serve after checking the seasonings.
This vegetable side is highly nutrient dense and devoid of fat laden cream. Any other berries can be chosen, depending on its availability. Cabbage has nutty taste, so one can avoid meat totally and choose naan, or other breads.

Sweet Dessert

Healthy Mince Pies

  • 1 pear small cubes
  • 1 apple small cubes
  • 50 g berries
  • 50 g dry fruits
  • Juice of one orange
  • Orange zest finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 small egg yolk beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon icing sugar
  • 3 sheets filo pastry
  • Heat the oven to about 180°C.
  • Add fruits, dry fruits, orange zest, spices, ginger and juice in a saucepan.
  • Stir them over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, till the fruits begin to soften at the edges.
  • Once the liquid has evaporated, remove it from fire, and let it cool
  • Cut each filo pastry sheet in eight equal pieces. There will be total 24 pieces.
  • Take a deep, non-stick, muffin tin with 6 to 8 holes. Brush each hole with oil.
  • Place 2 filo pastry sheet cuts, in each hole.
  • Add fruit mixture over the pastry sheet in each hole.
  • Cover the mixture with 2 filo pastry sheet cuts for each compartment.
  • Brush all over with the beaten egg mixture.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until golden.
  • Get the muffin tin out, and take the muffins out with the help of a knife
  • Turn the muffins to expose their base and place them in the muffin tin.
  • Brush the exposed base with the beaten egg mixture.
  • Bake for 5 more minutes till the mince pies are crispy
  • Cool and sprinkle some icing sugar
  • Serve plain or with the yogurt/custard topping
Healthy Mince Pies

With healthy alternatives to Christmas meals, keep your heart healthy and happy as you chime

Hark! The herald-angels sing
"Glory to the new-born king"

Medindia wishes you All - Very Merry, Healthy Heart, Christmas & Season’s Greetings!

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