Christmas can be a bit of a tricky time if you are trying to eat healthily, or avoid certain types of foods such as sugar, gluten or dairy. Many of the traditional foods are no longer suitable for you and it can feel a bit isolating not joining in with everybody else. Thankfully, nowadays, there are lots of gluten and dairy free shop bought alternatives at Christmas so that is definitely an option for some types of Christmas foods but others are still, unfortunately, highly processed and sugary.
However, after doing research over the years, I have realised it is definitely possible to be part of Christmas and still eat well. An easy and healthy starter to have at Christmas is soup. Most people enjoy it and it has the added bonus that you can make it beforehand. It is also really easy to make it paleo friendly. I am going to make this delicious parsnip soup which is gluten and dairy free.
When it comes to the main course most of the traditional Christmas dinner is actually fairly healthy. The only parts that aren't paleo are the stuffing and bread sauce. This recipe for stuffing here uses almond flour as its base and is delicious as it is sweetened with some apples and dates. Bread sauce is pretty difficult to make paleo (the clue is in the name!) but if you still want to include it there are lots of good dairy free and gluten free recipes out there such as this one by Jamie Oliver.
If you are sugar free or just watching your sugar intake then pudding or dessert is where it obviously becomes difficult but, again, it is definitely possible. If you want to enjoy the traditional Christmas pudding then look no further than this amazing creation at Eighty20 Nutrition that is both Paleo and vegan. If you are able to have some chocolate then this incredibly easy pear and chocolate pudding is a good option as most of it is fruit and there are some health benefits if you use good quality dark chocolate. It would be delicious served with a dairy free n'ice cream made from fruit.
If you are on a sugar free diet and really don't want to eat any refined sugar but still want to have something to be part of the meal then a fruit based crumble such as this one is a delicious healthy option. The fact that it is easy to make and uses frozen berries is another bonus. If you want to just have fruit then this winter fruit salad is the one that I have made in the last two years and everyone loves it. It is perfect with a good dollop of cream. If you are not strictly sugar free then you can also round your evening off later with a paleo/vegan hot chocolate which is always such a festive treat when it is freezing outside.
I hope this helps you feel you can still join in with all the festivities and traditions around even if you can't always eat the same as everybody else. It isn't easy to eat healthily at this time of year as there are can be so many cultural triggers and pressure to over indulge (Hello Scotland!) but having healthy options that look 'normal' can definitely help. How you cope with that pressure at Hogmanay is a whole other question - I will get back to you if I ever solve that one!
I hope you have a merry Christmas and a very happy 2018,