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5 easy food swaps for a plant based festive feast

It feels like 2018 was the year of the plant. Planting ideas and seeds for growth, a significant shift and renewed respect for mother nature and all that she plants on this earth, and, in our amazing food, drink, fitness and health industry, certainly it feels the movement began toward more plant based eating too.

This year, rather than just telling people we should eat more plants (because #healthy) we started to make plant based eating easier, more accessible and frankly a whole lot more sexy too.

So, now the year is coming to a close and we’re right in the midst of the festive season, let’s not lose touch of all the hard work we’ve put into 2018, let’s finish it with a bang, celebrate and feast on all great things plant based too.

Want to know how? Read on friends!

  1. Start it simple. You don’t need to go out and buy stacks of cheese or expensive ingredients when there are incredibly nutrient dense wholefoods at our fingertips to enjoy. Open your celebration with an abundant plant based grazing board with a splash of x factor. When you build a grazing board, the trick is to keep it colourful and playful. Celebrate how rich in colour and nutrition whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds truly are! Consider popping these delicious ingredients on your grazing board to keep all your favourite folk in the room smiling:
  • a few different colourful DIPS, sprinkled with spice (paprika, cayenne) or seasoning such as dukkah, sesame seeds, olive oil, and fresh herbs if you wish.
  • sliced fresh seasonal FRUIT : summer stone fruit, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, or whatever takes your fancy. These ingredients are great for when kids are around and you don’t want them filling up on other foods before the main meal.
  • whole VEGGIES such as dutch carrots and radish to make the veggies POP and be just that little bit cooler than usual. Add in other favourites such as a variety of colourful capsicum and juicy greens like cucumber and blanched broccolini or asparagus. When veggies are presented in a way that makes them look appealing, well, surprise surpise, they actually are eaten!
  • a variety of CRUNCHY features which are as easy as the healthier choices of crackers from the grocery store, nuts, root veggie and corn chips.

2. Give your bevvies a boost by offering more than just the norm. Whilst beer, wine and champers are lovely, without doubt your friends and fam will devour plant based cocktails, mocktails or just damn delicious drinks like Remedy Kombucha and Remedy Switchel, that are ACTUALLY good for you. Switchel is the newest member of the Remedy Drinks family and one that you’ll want to make a permanent resident of your fridge too.

Remedy Switchel is made on a base of nutritious, plant based ingredients including, ginger and apple cider vinegar and spiced up with two incredible flavours – blood orange and finger lime. Not only are both Remedy’s Booch and Switchel punching weight with their flavour and ingredient combos, but they’re powering up your health over the festive season with properties to help:

  • support digestion and improve gut health
  • regulate appetite
  • boost immunity
  • reduce inflammation
  • hydrate the body and restore electrolytes – you don’t need the hair of the dog this season, you just need some SWITCHEL in your hand!

3. Boost the main event. Be creative with the plant based dishes you serve for the main meal. Salads are great, but they don’t necessarily feel like a substantial swap for where you may previously have featured ham or turkey on your plate. There are a plethora of ideas for plant based main meals on the inter webs these days with some of the top favourites including:

  • vegetarian nut roast
  • stuffed capsicums, tomatoes, zucchini with wholegrains such as quinoa, buckwheat, herbs, spices, garlic and onion
  • grilled mushrooms with tahini and dukkah
  • eggplant or zucchini involtini
  • sweet potato gratin
  • vegetable tarts or pies
  • risottos of all varieties
  • felafel, pumpkin, quinoa and lentil (or any bean really) patties and a delicious coconut yoghurt sauce to accompany

4. Crowd your plate. Maybe you’re not trying to have a completely plant based Christmas, but you’re trying your best to include more plants on your plate rather than over loading on the meat options as you may have in previous years.

The best approach? CROWD your plate with plants. Go with plant based dishes FIRST then add your meat after, not the other way around as often is the case. Aim to fill 3/4 or more of your plate with the delicious vegetarian or vegan options on the table (maybe one you’ve contributed too so you can eat this way if that’s your choice!) and add the meat to finish. If in past your plate has been half meat and then a few veggies to finish, then this approach is a gentle step forward in a great direction for having more plants in your life this festive season and well beyond.

5. Sweeten the finish. Does the thought of custard, egg nog, and big cheese boards to finish the feast have you feeling a bit heavy and already? That’s fair enough. Eating a big main meal at Christmas is tough on our digestive system, so finishing the event with a solid dose of heavy dairy for instance is going to slow you right down and potentially leave you feeling much like the stuffed turkey on the table.

The sweet swaps? Return to point 1 : SIMPLICITY. Celebrate with sweet swaps such as :

  • fresh seasonal fruits – berries and cherries in the summer are small burst of deliciousness
  • cacao truffles aka bliss balls, made just a touch smaller than how you might usually snack on them during a normal day
  • homemade plant based fudge with nut butters such as peanut, almond, macadamia or tahini
  • fresh fruit icy poles – mango and coconut are a dream
  • gummy jellies made with Remedy Kombucha or Switchel
  • and if you’re on the run, a block of vegan chocolate or coconut based ice cream will always bring a sweet smile to the occasion.


+This is a partnered post with Remedy Drinks. Jacqueline is the consulting nutritionist at Remedy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline Alwill, is an accredited nutritionist, author, founder of Brown Paper Nutrition and recently launched vegetarian meal delivery service Brown Paper Eats She is passionately committed to improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and families. Jacqueline is mum to her 8 year old boy - Jet.

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