jugs of water with fruit infused in them and ice

By the time New Year’s Eve arrives we can all feel rather bloated from the excess food and drink consumed in the run up to and over Christmas itself.

If, perhaps, you want to take it a bit easier and serve some healthier options come New Year’s Eve, here are some handy hints and tips for lightening things up.


During December the booze is often free flowing, so do try to keep well hydrated with plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic ones to minimise the hangover. This recipe for pomegranate and ginger flavoured water is also great for those who don’t drink, those who are taking a break for the night and for the kids.



At celebratory occasions like New Year, it’s easy to overindulge on the classic fried and high-fat party foods such as cheese, sausage rolls and other pastry-based bites, but this doesn’t have to be the way – there are so many healthier options that are brilliant for a celebration, so get creative! You can lighten things up with crudites, veg and bean-based dips, amazing salads, grilled veggie kebabs and homemade burgers

It’s easy to get carried away grazing on crisps and dips, without realising how much you’re eating, so avoid the high-fat oil- or mayonnaise-based shop-bought versions and make your own using fat-free yoghurt and herbs and spices. Serve alongside a pile of prepared veg batons (which will fill you up), and experiment beyond your typical sliced cucumber and carrots – radishes and crunchy lettuce leaves which are both great for dipping.



If you’ve got plenty of people coming round to celebrate, it’s always best to do your prep well in advance and some of these recipes are perfect – a large batch can be made beforehand, and will just need reheating as your guests arrive.

Curries are often made with a lot of oil and high-fat meats like lamb, so this recipe for vegetable vindaloo with chicken skewers is packed with plenty of vegetables and lean chicken breast and is healthier as it’s lower in fat than many recipes and that from the Indian takeaway! This healthy recipe for chicken cacciatore, is another great one for New Year, very comforting and hearty and made lower in fat, as the skin has been removed from the chicken and the recipe only contains a little pancetta, but still packs in plenty of flavour.



On New Year’s Eve you don’t want your guests to be sent into a food coma before the clock strikes midnight, so rather than passing round the chocolate selection box, you could try a lighter dessert such as this tangerine, chocolate and vanilla salad, or use up the last of the clementines hanging around with this clementine jelly. This recipe for pineapple mint sorbet is a refreshing after-dinner sweet treat that still delivers a sweet kick, but is a fair bit lighter than your hearty Christmas pudding or a classic boozy trifle.



Why not start the first day of the New Year with an extra special breakfast? This recipe for a Mexican inspired breakfast really celebrates eggs and is a great recipe for the adults feeling a little worse for wear! This recipe for berry pocket egg bread is a good option for children, as you can get them to help make the filling and it contains around two portions of fruit, helping them to hit their 5-a-day of fruit and veg. You could also start the year as you mean to carry on with one of these super fruit smoothies packed with fruit and goodness.

I hope you’ll discover that the tips and recipes suggested here don’t compromise your celebrations; and only go to prove that you can lead a healthy lifestyle without shortchanging on taste and flavour.

About the author

Laura Matthews

Laura is head of nutrition at Jamie Oliver. Her passion for food comes from having cooking lessons at a local college from the age of 10, and the nutrition side from a fascination for how the right foods can fuel the body.

Laura Matthews