by Jacqueline Alwill, Remedy Nutritionist
It feels like 2018 was the year of the plant. Planting ideas and seeds for growth, a significant shift and renewed respect for mother nature and all that she plants on this earth, and in our amazing food, drink, fitness and health world, it certainly feels the movement began toward more plant-based eating too.
This year, rather than just telling people we should eat more plants (because #healthy) we started to make plant-based eating easier, more accessible and frankly a whole lot sexier too. So, now the year is coming to a close and we’re right in the midst of the festive season, let’s not lose touch of all the hard work we’ve put into 2018, let’s finish it with a bang, celebrate and feast on all great things plant-based too. Want to know how? Read on friends!
1. START SIMPLE
Open your celebration with an abundant plant-based grazing board with a splash of x factor. You don’t need to go out and buy stacks of cheese or expensive ingredients when there are incredibly nutrient dense whole foods at your fingertips to enjoy. When you build a grazing board, the trick is to keep it colourful and playful. Celebrate how rich in colour and nutrition whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds truly are! Consider popping these delicious ingredients on your grazing board to keep all your favourite folk in the room smiling:
- A few different colourful DIPS, sprinkled with spice (paprika, cayenne) or seasoning such as dukkah, sesame seeds, olive oil, and fresh herbs if you wish.
- Sliced fresh seasonal FRUIT: summer stone fruit, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, or whatever takes your fancy. These ingredients are great for when kids are around and you don’t want them filling up on other foods before the main meal.
- Whole VEGGIES such as dutch carrots and radish to make the veggies POP and be just that little bit cooler than usual. Add in other favourites such as a variety of colourful capsicum and juicy greens like cucumber and blanched broccolini or asparagus. When veggies are presented in a way that makes them look appealing, surprise surpise, they actually are eaten!
- A variety of CRUNCHY features which are as easy as the healthier choices of crackers from the grocery store, nuts, root veggie and corn chips.
2. GIVE YOUR BEVVIES A BOOST...
... by offering more than just the norm. Whilst beer, wine and champers are lovely, without a doubt your friends and fam will devour plant-based cocktails, mocktails or just damn delicious drinks like Remedy Kombucha, that are ACTUALLY good for you. Not only is both Remedy’s Booch punching weight with its flavour and ingredient combos, but it can help power up your health over the festive season with properties to help:
- Support digestion and improve gut health
- Regulate appetite
- Stabilise blood sugar levels
- Boost immunity
3. BOOST THE MAIN EVENT
Be creative with the plant-based dishes you serve for the main meal. Salads are great, but they don’t necessarily feel like a substantial swap for where you may previously have featured ham or turkey on your plate. There are a plethora of ideas for plant-based main meals on the interwebs these days with some of my top favourites including:
- Vegetarian nut roast
- Stuffed capsicums, tomatoes, zucchini with whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, herbs, spices, garlic and onion.
- Grilled mushrooms with tahini and dukkah.
- Eggplant or zucchini involtini.
- Sweet potato gratin.
- Vegetable tarts or pies.
- Risottos of all varieties
- Felafel, pumpkin, quinoa and lentil (or any bean really) patties and a delicious coconut yoghurt sauce to accompany.
4. CROWD YOUR PLATE
Maybe you’re not trying to have a completely plant-based Christmas, but you’re trying your best to include more plants on your plate rather than over loading on the meat options as you may have in previous years. The best approach? CROWD your plate with plants.
Go with plant-based dishes FIRST then add your meat after, not the other way around as often is the case. Aim to fill 3/4 or more of your plate with the delicious vegetarian or vegan options on the table (maybe one you’ve contributed too so you can eat this way if that’s your choice!) and add the meat to finish. If your plate has been half meat and then a few veggies to finish in past, then this approach is a gentle step forward in a great direction for having more plants in your life this festive season and well beyond.
5. SWEETEN THE FINISH
Does the thought of custard, egg nog, and big cheese boards to finish the feast have you feeling a bit heavy and already? That’s fair enough. Eating a big main meal at Christmas is tough on our digestive system, so finishing the event with a solid dose of heavy dairy is going to slow you right down and potentially leave you feeling much like the stuffed turkey on the table. The sweet swaps? Return to point 1 : SIMPLICITY. Celebrate with sweet swaps such as:
- Fresh seasonal fruits
- Berries and cherries in the summer are small burst of deliciousness
- Cacao truffles aka bliss balls, made just a touch smaller than how you might usually snack on them during a normal day
- Homemade plant-based fudge with nut butters such as peanut, almond, macadamia or tahini
- Fresh fruit icy poles
- Mango and coconut are a dream
- Gummy jellies made with Remedy Kombucha or Switchel
- And if you’re on the run, a block of vegan chocolate or coconut based ice cream will always bring a sweet smile to the occasion.
Images, articles and recipe credits: Remedy Nutritionist, Jacqueline Alwill, founder of The Brown Paper Bag.