The summer holidays are winking, but often we pay the price after all the eating and drinking amid the merriment of the festive season.
To keep the nation in good shape these holidays, a pharmaceutical company, whose focus centres on healthy living, has developed more than 30 mouth-watering braai recipes in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, as part of the Cooking from the Heart cookbook series, that’ll keep festive season calories in check.
Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says the festive season can be a challenging time, especially for those who worked hard for their summer bodies and want to keep it that way.
“Although a little bit of holiday weight gain is expected, many get carried away and put on much more, which becomes difficult to shed in the long run.
“The key is to eat mindfully over the holidays. If you’re trying to maintain your weight, there are a few simple strategies you can follow:
1. Fill up on vegetables first. The more colourful your plate, the healthier.
2. Take a break between bites so your body has time to process the food.
3. Wait at least 20 – 30 minutes before you have dessert. This gives your body time to figure out whether you’re still hungry. Listen to your body and stop when you’re full.
4. Focus on having a good time with the people you’re with than just the food.
5. Be aware of the amount of food you eat and adjust it based on its nutritional value and the goals of your eating plan by exercising portion control.
“Finally, don’t feel bad about treating yourself to some of your favourite festive season treats, but remember to moderate your intake. If you overindulge during one or two meals, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just get back on track the next day.
“Grilling or braaiing fish, vegetables, steak and chicken with the right side dishes can also be a great way to limit your calorie intake. Braaiing meat over an open flame allows the fat to drop off the food vs frying it in oil, which adds extra fat. There’s also minimal nutritional loss when grilling or braaiing veggies,” she says.
Here’s a few healthy braai recipes from Cooking from the Heart’s special braai edition that won’t compromise your weight:
These skewers are delicious when braaied over the coals. 125 g button mushrooms, halved3 baby marrows, thickly sliced200 g baby tomatoes1 green, yellow or red pepper, seeded and cut into large cubes15 - 20 bay or fresh lemon or lime leaves (optional)8 - 10 metal skewers or wooden kebab sticks, soaked in water for 30 minutes¼ cup (60 ml) olive or canola oil3 tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice1 tbsp (15 ml) finely grated lemon rind2 tsp (10 ml) each chopped fresh thyme, origanum and parsley1 clove of garlic, crushed black pepper to taste½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
1. Place mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with boiling water. Soak for 8 – 10 minutes to prevent the mushrooms from breaking apart when skewered. Drain well and pat dry.
2. Thread mushrooms and veggies onto skewers or kebabs sticks, alternating the different veggies for a colourful end result. Add 1 - 2 bay, lemon or lime leaves in between veggies.
3. Mix oil, lemon juice and rind, herbs and garlic together and season with pepper.
4. Brush oil mixture onto skewers on all sides and marinate for 30 minutes. Season skewers with salt.
5. Grill over medium to low coals or until the veggies are just cooked, but not too soft. Brush with more of the marinade, while braaiing, if necessary.
6. The kebabs can be served with the Pea & yoghurt dip or Cottage cheese dip on pages 48 and 49. Serve with a protein-rich vegetarian dish for a balanced meal.
1. Add pineapple to the skewers for a sweet flavour – it is delicious with pork or chicken.
2. A pinch of cumin or paprika or a chopped chilli can be added to the oil mixture if preferred.
3. For a different flavour add 1 tbsp (15 ml) finely grated fresh ginger or add 1 tsp (5 ml) mild mustard to the oil mixture.