Christmas desserts in a dash


Here are some healthy recipes that look good and taste better, for the last-minute cook’s kitchen

Kick out the 3 Cs

Chief Dietician of Max HealthCare Delhi, Ritika Samaddar, makes a valid point. Christmas and new year goodies are mostly cakes and cookies stuffed with the three Cs — cream, cheese and chocolates.

According to her, fruits are the best natural sweeteners and she suggests figs and dates over even jaggery. Choose olive oil over butter and cream; whole wheat flour, shavings of portioned fresh coconut or sweet potatoes and powdered nuts over any other flour. Make more of home-baked tarts and pudding with seasonal fruits this season, she says.

Pamper yourself

Anita Zachariah is a single mom whose working hours in a hotel in Kolkata have forced her to leave behind her nine-year-old son with her parents in Bengaluru. She makes it a point to be with the family every winter and pampers her sweet-toothed son with homemade Christmas treats. “I take care to make them healthy having worked closely with dieticians,” she says.

But what she dreads is spending hours in the kitchen stirring up goodies. “It can be a spoiler especially when you are on a short holiday with your loved ones,” she says. “Smart recipes that can be rustled up within 10 minutes are always my go-to.” In fact, she recalls last year’s dilemma when her flight got delayed. “I had to convince my brother to put together something with ingredients available in the kitchen, that would require minimum effort. By the time I reached home, he was already the star of the evening.” Here’s his recipe.

Walnut honey cheese crostini

Crostini or bruschetta with ricotta, pear, walnuts and honey for breakfast.

Crostini or bruschetta with ricotta, pear, walnuts and honey for breakfast.  


For one serving

4 thin slices rusk, baked

4 tsp fresh homemade paneer

8 walnuts, toasted

2 tsp honey


Spread one teaspoon cottage cheese on each slice of rusk.

Top with with 2 walnuts on each. Grill until warm. Drizzle with honey before eating.

(As prepared by Anita’s brother)

Delhi-based homemaker-turned entrepreneur of healthy and positive tiffin boxes for pre-schoolers, Deepika Shukla’s christmas goodies with ingredients always available at home appear effortless. “Keep it simple but pack it with colour and taste,” is her mantra.

Christmas tree sandwich

Ingredients: For a pair

Two multigrain bread slice

Peanut butter

Home made beetroot or strawberry jam


Cut a pair of bread slices into tree shape with the cookie cutter

Apply peanut butter on one side and jam on the other.

Apply another layer of jam on top of the peanut buttered slice.

Spread green sprinklers and serve.


Nutritional info per 2 square piece

Calories:-126 kcal

Protein 1 grams

Fat: - 7g

Go nuts

Executive Chef Somasundaram Gopalakrishnan with Courtyard by Marriott says he loves to serve natural and healthy, as far as possible, to his guests, many of whom are health and ingredient-conscious nowadays. He shares this recipe with us which contains no additives, preservatives and fatty acids. Meant for all age groups, he says.

Fresh fruits and nuts Christmas pudding


For 10 slices

200 ml fresh grape juice

One cup each of de-seeded grapes, apple, fresh strawberry and orange

Four fresh plums

0.5 cup dates and raisins

6 tbsp cashew paste

0.25 cup walnut kernels

0.5 cup almond soaked and peeled

1 tbsp cardamom powder

50 ml honey

2 cups of boiled and mashed sweet potato

75 ml milk


Wash and chop all the fruits and mix with the grape juice; leave it aside at room temperature. Pre-heat the oven, setting it at 240°C. Add cashew paste and milk to the fruits mixture. Add honey and cardamom powder; mix well. Transfer the mixture into the baking mould. Add the mashed sweet potato to the fruit mixture and glaze it with honey on top. Bake at 180°C. Serve pudding warm or cold in the same baking mould.

Stress out, health in

Celebration and responsibility don’t need to take the fun out of the festivity, says Mumbai nutritionist Pooja Sharma. “The best way to eat is to balance the invisible fat, complex carbs and good quality proteins in your recipe,” she says. According to her, a moderate intake of fat is necessary for the body to absorb the vitamins but should constitute less than 35%, carbohydrates can make up for upto 30% and proteins up to 40%. Anything refined (oil, sugar, flour) is a no,” she says.

Pooja’s favourite Christmas starter is turning fresh watermelon into a savoury.

Feta on watermelon


For 20 slices

Half watermelon

4 tbsp feta

A few drops extra virgin oil to drizzle

0.25 cup mint leaves

Black pepper to season


Using 5cm star cutters, cut 20 star shapes from watermelon slices. On a large platter, arrange watermelon stars into the shape of a Christmas tree. Crumble over feta and drizzle with oil. Season with black pepper and sprinkle mint leaves.

All-time favourite

How can your Christmas celebration be complete without chocolate goodies? But if you want to avoid the sinful chocolate indulgence, try this variant with dates. This is a handy recipe to liven up your party plate, says Pooja Sharma.

Healthy chocolate balls


(For four)

100 gm (or 7 tbsp) fresh dates

140 gm (or 10 tbsp) roasted hazelnuts/almonds

2 oats digestive biscuits

3 tbsp cacao powder

0.5 tsp raw vanilla extract


Place dates in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain.

Mix half the amount of nuts, biscuits and cacao in a food processor. Add dates and vanilla and process until smooth. Line baking tray with baking paper. Roll two tablespoons of mixture into small balls (like laddoos). Press one almond in the centre of each choco-ball and sprinkle coarsely chopped almonds on the outside. Store in the fridge until set or ready to serve.

Coconut and banana fudge

Pooja has put together this Christmas fudge made with two natural ingredients. Its dairy and gluten free with no added sugar.


For two square piece

One cup coconut flakes

Two medium sized bananas

3 tbsp nuts of your choice


Place the shredded coconut in a high-speed blender and blitz until it reaches a butter consistency. Add few drops of coconut milk. Add banana and blitz again until both the ingredients combine well. Spoon the mixture into small dish lined parchment paper. Top with nuts and refrigerate until fudge has hardened.

Cut the fudge in square pieces and serve. You can also keep it for five days in air tight container.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:37:44 AM |

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