Healthy Alternative Christmas Lunch
(no treadmill involved!)
The main attraction of the Christmas dinner. It is a great source of protein and B vitamins for energy. However, the skin of turkey, like other poultry, is where most of the fat lies. By pricking it, you can drain some of the fat. Then by removing the skin after the turkey is cooked, each portion saves roughly 40 kcal. When preparing the turkey, you can also trim excess fatty areas with kitchen shears. Also, choose breast over leg or thigh as it has slightly fewer calories.
These are a great source of carbohydrates. What makes these little treats a calorie nightmare is the oil or fat they are roasted in. By swapping roasted potatoes for baked potato, you can save on these calories and not skimp on the taste! An alternative is to create bakes with other roots, like parsnip and celeriac that also don’t require oil.
Brussel sprouts are not everyone’s cup of tea…but their health benefits and traditional presence on our Christmas plates cannot be denied. They are a great source of folate, vitamin C and fibre. What can be dangerous is smothering them in butter to hide the taste (which you might do with other veg). This can be avoided by using fresh herbs or citrus zest to add some flavour.
Stuffing can be full of fat if it is meat based. The best way to avoid this is by going for a vegetarian option, or a ready-made stuffing that is fruit or chestnut based (being high in potassium). If options at supermarkets still seem high in fat content, then try making your own! Be sure to use a variety of fruits and nuts, and flavour with cinnamon and garlic, which is particularly good for your liver.
Finally, desert! Christmas pudding has high carbohydrate levels without much fat. It contains a lot of minerals and nutrients, like fibre, iron, calcium, potassium and B vitamins. However, where it falls in the immense amount of sugar. Try using low fat custard or Greek yoghurt as an accompaniment, in place of creams and butters. For a healthy alternative, make your own! There are many recipes out there the involve adding our own fruit for the sweetness instead of added sugar.