Christmas is a time of joy, when we gather together with friends and family over food and drinks. For those of us that are not wanting to gain weight over this festive period and find the indulgent food challenging, how can we make changes to help our journeys.
Lets share some tips to make our Christmas Lunch/Dinner healthier, but still taste delicious.
Before cooking the turkey, prick the skin to allow the fat to run out and cook the bird on a wire rack or an upturned ovenproof plate so it is not sitting in fat all the time.
The skin on turkey or goose is where most of the fat is so remove before eating to reduce saturated fat and calories from your meat. Light meat has fewer calories than dark meat.
Instead of using sausage meat stuffing, why not replace with a chestnut, nut or fruit-based version.
Try cutting your potatoes bigger for roasting - larger pieces absorb less fat during roasting (this also applies to parsnips). Parboil them first and then finish off in the oven!
Traditionally, animal fats like lard or goose fat are used on roast potatoes – for a healthier alternative, why not try vegetable oils like olive or rapeseed, as they are lower in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated fats. They still go crispy!
Swap half of your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, as an alternative that can contribute towards your 5 A DAY.
If you leave the skins on your potatoes, you can up your fibre intake for the day.
Serve a variety of vegetables, as different types provide different essential nutrients!
Vegetables are what we call low-energy density foods – so you can eat lots for relatively few calories (provided they are not covered in fats like butter). Use chopped fresh herbs or lemon zest instead to add flavour. Try caraway with your carrots, or nutmeg with your Brussels sprouts for a deliciously Christmassy taste!
Try steaming vegetables rather than boiling, as steaming retains more of the vitamins.
Use the cooking water from the vegetables to make the gravy, as this will contain some of the vitamins from the vegetables.
The gravy and sauces:
To make low-fat gravy, pour the turkey juices into a jug, wait for the fat to rise to the surface and carefully pour or spoon off the fat. You can then use the remaining juices to make gravy!
Use low-salt stock cubes for gravy and try to limit salt added at the table – your food will still taste delicious without it!
Make bread sauce with skimmed milk, and add garlic, nutmeg, cloves and a bay leaf to the milk for extra flavour – you do not need any salt to make it tasty!
Christmas pudding and other festive desserts can be delicious, but also very rich – why not opt for a small portion and add additional fruit for a 5 A DAY contribution.
Top 10 nutritious Christmas foods.
Brussel Sprouts - Vitamin C, Folate, fibre all that support a healthy gut.
Carrots - Beta Carotene/Vitamin A, which supports normal vision and a healthy immune system.
Chestnuts - Fibre, naturally low in saturated fats, and provide potassium which supports maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Clementine's, Satsuma's and Tangerine's - Great source of Vitamin C which is important for our immune system.
Cranberries - Packed with Vitamin C.
Dates and Figs - Good source of fibre, Figs provide us with Iron, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium and 30g is a portion of 5 A DAY.
Nuts - Provide us with potassium, iron, zinc, B Vitamins, folate and Vitamin E and a good source of monounsaturated fats which is good for our hearts health.
Roast Potatoes and Parsnips - Potatoes make a good contribution to our potassium and Vitamin C. If you leave the skins on more fibre. Parsnips good source of fibre, manganese and folic acid.
Salmon - Long chained Omega - 3 fats
Turkey - Good source of protein and without the skin, its low in fat. Its also a good source of B Vitamins (B6 & B12) which support a healthy immune system.
Enjoy your Christmas Dinner, remember it's just one day and track, weigh, and measure it all.