A veggie Christmas: Your menu guide

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If you’re getting ready for a sumptuous vegetarian Christmas spread but need a little help with the planning, here are some tasty tips to try for a very veggie Christmas:

• ‘Tis the season: Use what’s in season to inspire your menu. It will guarantee you have wonderfully fresh produce that is also better for your budget. Some veggies to keep an eye out for are asparagus, capsicum, avocados, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and zucchini. For fruit, of course there are Christmas cherries and berries, summer stonefruits and tropical treats like lychees and mangoes.

Be adventurous: Complement the traditional roast veggies with something more daring. Why not try a new cuisine, unusual ingredients like ancient grains or heirloom veggies like purple carrots? Alternatively, just mix it up when it comes to family favourites. Even the humble cauliflower can be roasted whole, served up as steaks on a bed of creamy puree, or chopped finely as cauliflower rice. An adventurous dish is always a great conversation starter.

No need to miss the carve: Try a meat alternative for a tasty roast with all the trimmings. Another great option for a hero dish that can be carved at the table is a veggie wellington or a savoury strudel.

Budget beans: Grains and legumes are a delicious and budget-friendly way to bulk up dishes and make sure everyone reaches that button-popping level of full reserved for Christmas Day. Grains make a great side to soak up a sauce, beans are ideal for a mash or puree and both can be added to almost any salad.

Plant-based stuffing: A delicious mix of grains, spices, dried fruits and nuts is perfect to stuff into your veggies like capsicum, mushrooms, eggplant and tomatoes.

Most importantly, just breathe and remember no matter what you serve up, it is sharing a meal with family, friends and loved ones that really matters.

Healthy holiday habits

Pace yourself. If it’s just the one day of celebration, relax and enjoy—but consider carefully what you eat and drink on the days leading up to it. A special day can sometimes turn into a week of dinners and gatherings, so choose to eat moderately at each party.

Get moving. If you find yourself eating far more than normal, consider increasing your exercise and activity levels. Another tip is to include activities at your event (where possible) that don’t involve eating or drinking—for example, take your party outdoors to a park, lake or beach where you can be active.

Focus on fresh. Choose a menu with lots of nutritious fresh foods rather than relying on processed treats. For example, dessert could be a fresh fruit platter featuring fresh seasonal fruits.

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