The word from the nutritionist

Light idea for festivities

Festivities are coming and you know, at Christmas in addition to being nicer we are also more gluttonous. In the period of Christmas holidays, lunches and dinners together with relatives or friends are not counted, but the risk of exaggerate with fats and calories is always in ambush.

It isn’t only a figure problem: bad digestion, imbalance of intestinal bacterial flora, increase of the level of triglycerides in the blood, abuse of salt with consequent water retention are some problems in which we can run into when we exaggerate at table. So, is it possible to enjoying tasty dishes without weighing down?

If we prepare a light menu which provides light but greedy recipes, without renouncing to the tasty and the goodness of festivity dishes, no. It’s sufficient to using a few cunning and our guests won’t complain…


Starting to drinks, for the wish toast it’s better to choosing a good glass of sparkling wine or champagne which are lighter drinks than sweet aperitifs that are rich of dyes, but during the lunch don’t forget to put on the table big pitchers of natural or sparkling water because in the company moments we often drink and eat without control and wine increase the calories of our meals.

If mineral water is served in abundance, it helps to inflate dietary fibres which we have swallowed and it give us a sense of satiety.


Regarding to starters, we have to avoid olives, fat sauces and cold cuts and we have to concentrate on vegetables and fish. Yes to a good portion of colourful crudités which are matched to vinaigrette and “bagna cauda”, or we could create some salads mixed of fruit and fresh vegetables, maybe with a handful of pine nuts.

Naturally green light to fish: as starter, together with the salad, fishes like smoked sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon are a delicacy: is important to not exaggerate and to avoid seasoning like butter and mayonnaise.


Passing to the first dishes is undoubted that stuffed or in broth pasta are two big classic of Christmas. To lighten the menu we can serve a consommé of meat with julienne of vegetables and tagliatelle of crepes, or we can opt for creams and vegetables velvet. If we don’t want to renounce at pasta, the first dishes of fish are the healthier and tastier choice: a “spaghettata” with clams and chilli or “bavette” with the rock flavour, “pennette” with fresh crayfishes and aubergine or “tagliolini” with salmon flavour, but instead of using cream, to prepare the sauce (in which we will add the salmon) let’s use some yoghurt or some ricotta which has to be mixed to a few cooking water of pasta and with a dusting of chive.


And to follow? There’s a lot tasty but after starters and first dishes is important that the second dishes are not too caloric. Without capon, boiled meat or a roast it isn’t really Christmas, but we can transform the second dish in a light dish too. The strategy is to preferring thin meats and cooking them directly in the oven avoiding to brown them after and in particular renouncing to seasoning in favour of light sauces with yoghurts, spices and aromas. Turkey, chicken and guinea fowl if they are stuffed with chestnuts, raisin, pine nuts, lemon peel, pieces of carrots and celery, little cubes of pineapple or apple can make beautiful show of itselves. As side dish, seasonal vegetables, it’s better if they are raw or cooked by steaming, or just cooked in pan with a few oil and onion or garlic.


Some small secrets:

  • limit the use of salt to flavour the dishes, trying to enhance the natural tasty of food with spices and aromatic herbs;
  • don’t bring on the table bread and breadsticks: in the important lunches or dinners they don’t help
  • taste all without fill the dish: the use of small dishes help to include the food quantities already visually!
  • do small bites and chew a lot so that enjoy better the food and feel more satiety. A simply way to eat slowly is place the fork on the dish between one bite and an another one.


We are arriving to the dessert: panettone, pandoro and nougat are very caloric desserts but essential. It’s better choosing those that are prepared according to the classic recipe and avoiding those that are stuffed with creams or chocolate, limit us to eat only one slice and accompany them with fresh fruits or a light ricotta cream instead of traditional, too caloric ones (with the mascarpone).


And at the end, after the lunch or the dinner, don’t rest on the sofa but go walking for about 30 minutes to sustained footstep and it will be certainly an exceptional way to dispose of the sense of swell and heaviness which are caused from possible excesses on the table.


Published 29 November 2018