One of the most awaited and magical times of the year is finally here, when that constant feeling of warmth, and cheer fills the air around us, and all we want to do is embrace it with full hearts. With Christmas just round the corner, festivities and celebrations are abuzz.
As families across the country begin to prepare for the festivities, including decorating the house, ordering gifts, organizing virtual family sessions, and preparing scrumptious feasts and sweets, the cheer is unparalleled even when social distancing. This holiday season, revisit your Christmas celebrations while focusing on your family and your health and wellness with these suggestions – Bond with your family over a Christmas movie marathon, and a side of healthy snacks!
Binge-watching holiday movies can be a perfect way to spend time with the family in between prepping for the festivities, wrapping presents, or just as a way to unwind after a long week. But when it comes to binge-watching, most of us often end up consuming unhealthy snacks that can be unhealthy for a variety of reasons. The best way to avoid this is by replacing typical unhealthy snacks with healthier alternatives like almonds which can be a tasty and nutritious treat to accompany the movie binge.
Leading Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan said, “Christmas is a great time to spend some quality time with the family, and engage in activities that can strengthen bonds. In my family, we host a holiday movie marathon after the children go to sleep, on Christmas day as a yearly tradition. To avoid unhealthy munching during the movies, I prepare a variety of bowls of spiced or flavoured almonds in advance to snack on. Almonds make for a delicious and healthy movie time snack, which also help keep my family’s weight under check through the holiday season.”
Exchange thoughtful gifts, which spread good wishes!
The tradition of exchanging gifts during Christmas day is a warm way to reiterate love and gratitude for the people that matter the most. Take this one step ahead this year, by sharing nutritious gifts that will positively impact the health of the receiver. Instead of opting for conventional presents, share a supply of nuts like almonds which are known to be the gift of good health.
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said, “2020 has been a unique year for many reasons, but most importantly it has shown us the need to focus on one’s health and lifestyle, and share that with our friends and family. This year, there has been a noticeable trend of opting for thoughtful gifts like Almonds which will add to the receiver’s well-being in the long run. Almonds are known to provide a bouquet of benefits across various health concerns including type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity, supported by years of global research.
Ring in the cheer and bond with the family over a fun fitness session!
Christmas time and the end of the year also brings along with it a lot of festive food, and cheer – which can derail a person’s fitness plans. But instead of seeing this as a roadblock, utilize this time to bond with the family, but with a fitness inclined twist. Celebrate Christmas in a unique way this year, by planning a family fitness activity that will help keep everyone engaged and healthy – at the same time.
According to Fitness Expert and Celebrity Master Instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala said, “Christmas festivities usually bring along with them a lot of indulgent meals, which can cause unwanted weight gain. The best way to avoid this is by making sure you maintain your fitness routine even through the festive cheer. You could plan a group Pilates class, a dance-off, or a yoga session, and bring family members across cities onto a virtual meet to participate in this activity. Also, make sure to supplement the group workout with healthy snacks like almonds as their protein and fiber content make them a satiating choice. Staying satisfied between meals with healthy choices may even help the family avoid overindulgences elsewhere, making it easier to keep weight in check, which will help keep people full in between meals, avoid any overindulgence, and also keep one’s weight under check. You could also consume almonds post the group workout as almonds make for a good post-workout snack.”
Cook healthy yet festive dishes together!
Cooking as an act of celebration brings us mentally and emotionally closer to our families. Be it a dessert, or a main course, or just a soup, cooking is always refreshing. This Christmas, give your cooking a healthy turn and incorporate healthy ingredients like almonds into the preparation.
According to Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar, “During Christmas and year-end festivities, a lot of us tend to consume and cook unhealthy foods, without thinking of the repercussions they might have on our health. Opting for dishes that include nuts like almonds will ensure you add a dose of health to your Christmas meal. This will also have a beneficial impact in the long term.
According to a study, snacking on 42 grams of almonds every day significantly helped reduce bad LDL cholesterol while reducing central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors 1.”
Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert, and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, said “Celebrate Christmas differently this year by incorporating healthier recipes into your festive spread. Prepare foods that are healthy, and tasty. Being rich in several important nutrients, almonds are also a versatile ingredient that can be used in many Christmas inspired recipes. Research studies suggest that almonds offer goodness in every bite and are also a powerhouse of nutrition.”
Here’s a recipe that you can prepare this year to add an extra zest to your Christmas celebrations:
Spiced Almond Banana Jaggery Cake
Butter, unsalted 1/2 cup
Jaggery powder 1/2 cup cinnamon
Ground 1 ½ tsp
Nutmeg ground 1/4 tsp
Almonds, sliced 1/2 cup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Eggs, large 3 no
Orange zest 2 tsp
Banana ripped & mashed 1 1/4 cups
All-purpose flour 3 cups
Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk 2/3 cup
Melt 1/4 cup of the butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into an 8-cup pan; brush the butter over pan sides and bottom. Mix together the jaggery, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almonds. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with half the jaggery mixture; combine the remaining mixture with the remaining melted butter; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1/4 cup butter with granulated sugar until blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended. Beat in the mashed banana.
- Mix all-purpose, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to banana mixture along with the buttermilk; stir until well blended.
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon remaining jaggery sugar mixture evenly over top; cover with remaining batter.
- Bake in a 180° oven until a long wood skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for about 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve the cake warm or cool.