Think of Christmas dinner and you’ll most likely think of a table groaning under the weight of countless unhealthy treats.
The festive season is a time of excess for most of us, and from the start of December there is mulled wine and mince pies wherever you turn. Add in the dark, cold weather and it is easy to see why many people seek solace in food.
A healthy Christmas doesn't have to be dull. You also don’t have to make it obvious, as announcing you’re trying to be sensible can be met with shouts of “Scrooge!” You may not realise it, but at Christmas you are surrounded by food that is great for you1. Place your focus on these festive delicacies and you can have a guilt-free holiday and still enjoy the best of what the season has to offer.
Start the day with a good breakfast, just as you would any other day. This will help to lessen the temptation to snack throughout the day. Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon taste indulgent but are high in protein and low in fat. Eating a protein-based breakfast is the best way to stay full for longer. Serve on toasted wholegrain bread for a satisfying start to Christmas day.
Work up an appetite
With so much amazing food on offer, you need a hearty appetite so that you are able to enjoy it. Heading out with your family is a sociable Christmas day activity, and you will burn calories without feeling like you are working out. If you live in a city, take advantage of the quiet roads to cycle in areas that you wouldn’t usually be able to enjoy. In the countryside, lace up your boots and take to the fields for a bracing hike2.
This classic Christmas centrepiece is a lean source of protein, low in fat, and full of B vitamins1. The light meat is healthier than the dark meat, so opt for breast meat to minimise your calorie intake. Removing the skin makes a massive difference to the amount of fat you’re consuming. The best way to prepare your turkey is to prick the skin and let the fat drain away, before roasting your turkey on an upturned dish to allow the fat to drip off as it cooks.
These beautiful berries are perfect with turkey, adding festive colour and a vibrant taste. Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants which help to lower your cholesterol1. Shop-bought sauce is full of sugar, so try and avoid buying a ready-made cranberry sauce. To capitalise on the health benefits of cranberries, make a healthy and delicious sauce by adding orange juice and unrefined muscovado sugar to your berries.
Swap your sausage meat stuffing for one that is chestnut-based. This alternative is low in fat and full of potassium1, which can help to keep your kidneys healthy. You can also save hundreds of calories by making your own stuffing, and then you will know exactly what has gone into your dish.
You either love them or hate them, but the humble sprout has a lot to offer. This vegetable is a great source of fibre, the B vitamin folate, and vitamin C1. Serve sprouts along with as many colourful vegetables as you can find. Carrots, red cabbage and broccoli are all firm favourites that can boost your immune system and keep you fighting fit over the Christmas period. Steam or roast your vegetables in a little oil to enhance the natural flavour without smothering them in butter.
If you still have room, you can indulge in a slice of Christmas pudding with low-fat custard for a surprisingly healthy end to your meal. The fruit-filled dessert is low in fat, with lots of fibre, B vitamins, potassium, iron and calcium1.
For more advice on how to eat a healthy, balanced diet over Christmas, make an appointment for a dietary consultation.
To book your consultation call us on 0808 101 0337.