Many of our patients tells us they tend to overindulge during Christmas feasting. This leads to poor energy levels, lack of motivation, sleepiness, hunger, and even cravings, not long after a meal! A key culprit can be sweets (think Christmas pudding, fruit cake, candy canes). It can be tempting to try all the desserts, however, to prevent overeating, why not offer sweet treats that won’t send blood sugar (and energy) levels skyrocketing, but allow you to enjoy the treat without the sugar crash? Here are four of the best from my Christmas recipe book.

CHRISTMAS COCONUT CHIA PUDDING

Team mango, an Australian summer favourite, with rich, full-fat coconut milk that slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. A tropical twist you don’t need to resist.

INGREDIENTS
1 tin (270ml) organic coconut milk (full cream)
1 fresh mango
3 tablespoons chia seeds

METHOD
1. Add diced mango into serving bowl. Top with coconut milk and sprinkle with chia seeds
2. Stir through the chia seeds and coconut milk in a container. Cover and leave in fridge for 2 hours.
3. Once the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid and resembles a pudding texture, serve in bowls, topped with mango, or any fresh, seasonal fruits.

3 Variations:
1. Add diced mango into serving bowl. Top with coconut milk and sprinkle with chia seeds OR
2. Stir through the chia seeds and coconut milk in a container. Cover and leave for 20 minutes. Once the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid and resembles a pudding texture, serve in bowls, topped with mango, or any fresh, seasonal fruits.

Frozen variation:
3. Add 1 diced mango to the bottom of a popsicle container. Mix 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds in 1 can coconut milk, and fill the popsicle container. Pop on lids and freeze for 4 hours (or overnight).

MIXED BERRY DELIGHT

Mixed berries have less sugar compared to other fruits, and have the added benefit of dietary fibre. For this easy recipe you can combine subsitute cream with coconut milk.

INGREDIENTS

Mixed berries: Fresh (or frozen) strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
Pouring cream (if tolerated)
Shaved dark chocolate
Nuts

METHOD

1. Combine 1 cup of berries and 1 cup pouring cream in blender
2. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight to make ice cream.
3. To serve, shave over dark chocolate and sprinkle with

BANANA NICE-CREAM

The creaminess of the blended bananas and its natural fruit sugars, is a great alternative to regular ice cream. Get creative and experiment with different flavours!

INGREDIENTS
3 chopped bananas, frozen
Flavour ideas:
1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao + 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter or
1 teaspoon natural vanilla bean paste + 1 teaspoon cinnamon or
Lemon rind, lemon juice and 1 cup blueberries or
1 tablespoon matcha powder or
Banana  + ½ cup chopped walnuts + 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 teaspoon vanilla

METHOD
1. In a food processor, blend frozen bananas until smooth.
2. Add flavour creations.
3. Enjoy as is (soft serve), or freeze for 4 hours to create ice cream

SANTA’S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Avocado, with its healthy fats, and fibre, creates a creamy, mousse-like texture. The fats and fibre stabilise blood sugar levels, and combine beautifully with the rich, chocolate flavour of the cacao.

INGREDIENTS
2 large ripe avocados
1/4 -1/2  cup milk of choice
2 tablespoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetener: Stevia or organic raw honey

METHOD
1. In a food processor, combine avocado, cacao powder, milk, vanilla.
2. Sweeten with stevia or organic raw honey
3. Chill for 2 hours before serving

TIPS AND TRICKS
Cinnamon: helps regulate blood sugar levels by increases insulin sensitivity by increasing the uptake of glucose (sugar) out of  the blood and into the cells. It also blocks alanine enzymes, which are responsible for the breakdown of muscle or fat into glucose (gluconeogenesis).

Chia seeds: a powerhouse seed. 2 tablespoons (28g) provide nearly 11g fibre, 8.6g fat (including plant-based omega-3s), 4.4g protein as well as important minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc).

Cacao powder: great source of magnesium for muscle and nerve function, neurotransmitter release and blood pressure regulation . It’s rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects against free radical damage, and relaxes blood vessels by improving nitric oxide activity.

Organic raw honey: a natural sweeter with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties (use in small amounts).

So there you have it! Not only can you enjoy these desserts but also remain mentally and physical awake for the next festive activity!

Bonny Chow
Holistic Dietitian
Merge Health

Read more about Bonny and her areas of expertise.