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Food Inspiration for the Festive Season

In this Vision Personal Training article, we share our favourite ways to stay on track during the festive season. Click here for more information.
Health & Nutrition Articles
Health & Nutrition Articles

By Alicia Jovcevski at Bangor

Food for the Festive Season - Part 2!

It's Christmas & it is a time where we should be able to let our hair down a little & indulge more than usual, so now it's time to talk the real deal.... the sweet treats & desserts that won't bust your belt buckle!

Summer time in Australia is by far (in my opinion) the best time of year - the fruit & vegetables are amazing; the warm climate is just divine & daylight savings is even better for enjoying long balmy nights in good company.

Food doesn't have to be complicated, it can be just as delicious when it's pure & simple.

And after all it wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas Cake, but try not to undo months of sweat & good eating habits over the festive season!

Life is all about balance & moderation, it is meant to be enjoyed.

Here are some heathier dessert recipes that are even better than store-bought desserts without the empty calories!

Heathy Christmas Cake (Gluten free)
600g mixed dried fruit or a mix of the following (raisins, apricot, sultanas)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or paste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
zest and juice from 1 orange
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 eggs
200g (2 cups) ground almonds
50g walnuts

Preheat your oven to 150C.
Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper lining the sides and the base.
Combine dried fruit, spice, vanilla, orange zest + juice, olive oil and eggs. Add the almonds and walnuts and mix through. Spoon Christmas Cake batter into your baking tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean, if not bake for another 30 minutes. Cover the top if necessary to prevent over-browning.
Cool, then remove from the tin and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Serve in small portions after Christmas lunch or dinner or warm it up & serve as a pudding with  custard  or thick natural yoghurt & honey.

Chocolate Mousse
(Before you diss this recipe, try it! I have served this to friends who loathe avocado & they didn't even know it had it in it! They loved it.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 large ripe avocados
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/2 cup raw cacao

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or Nutri-bullet adding the maple syrup first, followed by the avocado, vanilla and cocoa. Blend for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.
Add a splash of water or coconut milk to make a lighter mousse. Taste and adjust if needed.
Spoon into a bowls or decorative glasses & allow to set in the fridge

Christmas Bliss Balls
1 cup almonds
12 medjool dates, seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup raisins

Place all of the ingredients except for the slivered almonds, currants & raisins into your food processor & blend at high speed until the mixture resembles a fine crumb that sticks together when firmly pressed. Stir through the slivered almonds, currants & raisins. Firmly press and shape the mixture into balls. Place in the fridge to set. Enjoy.


Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup arrowroot (for a gluten-free baking recipe, use tapioca starch/flour.)
1/4 cup ground flax
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 egg or 1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut oil (soft or slightly melted)
3 tablespoons honey* (you could use rice malt syrup if you prefer)

Preheat your oven to 175°C or 350°F & line a tray with baking paper.

Place the ingredients into your food processor & quickly pulse to combine. Roll the mixture into a smooth ball. Place the ball into the fridge for 20 minutes.

Remove from the fridge & roll in between two sheets of baking paper until the mixture is approximately 3 - 5mm thick. Cut with your cutters & gently place onto your prepared tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

Raw Cashew & Lime Cheesecake
2 cups macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups cashews
½ cup dates, pitted
¼ cup dried coconut
6 tbsp. coconut oil
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
½ vanilla bean
3 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries

Place macadamia nuts in large bowl & cover with cold water. Place cashews in separate bowl & cover with cold water. Soak nuts 4 hours, then rinse, drain, and set aside.
Pulse macadamia nuts & dates in food processor to a sticky crumb-like consistency. Sprinkle dried coconut on bottom of 8-inch pie pan. Press macadamia nut mixture onto coconut to make crust.

Place cashews, coconut oil, lime juice, honey & 6 tbsp. water in bowl of food processor. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into food processor bowl & purée until smooth.
Pour mixture onto crust & freeze 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Remove from freezer, slice while frozen & transfer to serving platter. Defrost in fridge 1 hour, or on countertop 30 minutes; top with berries; and serve.

Always remember, one-off indulgences do not cause weight gain; weight gain is caused by gradual, sustained increases in  calorie intake, along with little or no exercise.
Enjoy the festive season with your family & friends while remaining active & mindful of your eating choices, but most of all enjoy life in balance.

Alicia Jovcevski
Studio Owner


*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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