A Healthier Christmas Dinner

A Healthier Christmas Dinner

The average Brit consumes over 6000 calories on Christmas day, but there are ways to lighten the load and still enjoy the festivities.

  • It is not the roast that is at fault, but the way we cook it! Limited the unhealthy saturated fats and keep things simple.

    • Turkey is a lean meat, packed with nutrients and protein rich.
    • Most of us have at least 3 vegetables with our dinner. However, these need to be very lightly steamed to retain their nutrients (no more putting the sprouts on when the meat goes into the oven!).
    • Swap goose fat for coconut butter to make delicious and healthier roast potatoes. I also sprinkle my roasties with paprika for extra flavour.
    • Swap half potatoes for roasted sweet potatoes, packed with antioxidants.
    • If you like Stuffing, switch to a homemade version using wholegrains, nuts, fresh cranberries, lean pork meat and red onion.
  • Don’t go overboard!

    • Christmas is just 1 or 2 days for most of us, yet we buy vast amounts of food, snacks, drink and sweets. Be realistic and buy what you need or you will find you will still be eating mince pies, quality street and dried figs in January.  People buy the strangest foods at Christmas because of nostalgia or an inexplicable feeling that they must have them in the house or they fail as a Christmas host.  It is hardly a surprise to note that we waste more food at Christmas than any other time of year.
    • Don’t peak too early! Shops are flooded with Christmas food from September.  If you buy early to save money, remember to store these away and be disciplined.  Do not start to nibble of Christmas snacks until Christmas!
    • Mindless Eating. Whether you are at home in front of the Telly or at a party, mindless eating can be your downfall.  Those little nibbles add up and these nutrient deficient foods will ensure you pile on the pounds.  Keep nibbles out of sight (unless it is a tasty fruit bowl) and when you do indulge, eat sparingly.
  • Cut down on the sweet stuff

    • We are obsessed with calories but fat is actually our friend, as long as it is from good healthy sources and not processed fats. Instead, it has now been shown that sugars are piling on our pounds.  Cutting out excessive sugar consumption at Christmas and filling up on protein and healthy fats will give you more energy and keep you fuller for longer (though remember, mindless eating doesn’t care if you are hungry or not!).
    • There are plenty of low fat options which can fool you into thinking, as it is less calories, that you will have a flatter tum, however, these often are very high in sugar. These not only lay down more fat around the middle but also perpetuate your sugar cravings.
  • Keep it natural

    • Just like every other day of the year, keeping our food home-cooked and natural is the best way to improve our health.
    • Although it may seem overwhelming with the amount of junk, snack food on offer at Christmas, the shops are actually busting at the seams with a vast array of healthy food. Opt for colourful plates packed with antioxidant rich vegetables, lean meats, fish, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.  Have a quick search on the internet and you will find a huge number of healthy recipes for Christmas.
  • Plan Ahead

    • You are less likely to make bad food choices if you plan in advance. Plan your meals, even fill your freezer with homemade ready meals to eat when you are busy.
    • Before you go out to party, ensure you have eaten a good healthy meal. You are less likely to over consume and it will help line your stomach if you do over indulge a little on the bubbly!
    • If you are entertaining over Christmas, plan ahead and fill the freezer with treats ready to pop into the oven at short notice. Selections of cold meats, fish, salads, home-made dips and fruit platters can be a welcome treat after the heavy indulgence of a Christmas dinner.
  • Get Drink Savvy

    • You don’t want to be seen as a party pooper but sometimes you just want to refrain from too much alcohol. There are some fantastic alternatives such as an alcohol free bubbly try Echo Falls Tisane Sparkling Infusion.  If you are out and about, you can opt for soft drinks or alcohol free substitutes.  I usually opt for tonic water or cranberry and soda between each alcoholic drink.
    • Always keep bottles of water handy in the fridge – dehydration can cause headaches, constipation and a sluggish body.
  • Desserts

    • Watch out for unhealthy calories with your desserts. Lashings of cream, chocolate and sugar will not only congest your system but will also pile on the pounds.
    • Christmas pudding is pretty much a must-have, so enjoy a small portion but instead of piling it with brandy butter or thick cream, opt instead for a natural Greek yoghurt, or my new favourite, coyo coconut yoghurts.
    • I love berries and at enjoy my favourite sugar free pavlova, topped with Greek yoghurt. Sharp and indulgent.
  • Overindulged

    • I love Big Tom Spiced Tomato Juice – the perfect cure for a hangover. Add a few drops of Milk Thistle Tincture and you can get on with your day.
    • Green tea is my absolute must have, but I am now also an addict of Mint Green Tea – packed with antioxidants it is also great to help settle an upset tummy, nausea and aid digestion.
    • I love to start the day with a mug of hot water and a slice of lemon. Helped to detox and gets my digestive tract ready for the day
    • Fasting is not just for those who want to lose weight. Intermittent fasting is great to kick start a sluggish system and to give your body time to recover from over indulgence.
  • Children

    • Temptation is everywhere at Christmas for children and it is often a struggle to keep them on a healthy tract. I try to avoid too many sweets coming into the house, but sometimes it is unavoidable.  I place these into a container and they are given out as rewards for good behaviour, games or chores.
    • Get children into the kitchen to help create healthy recipes. The more children are exposed to cookery the less fussy they become.

By Sarah Flower, Author, Nutritionist and freelance Journalist!

Sarah Flowers Sugar Free Family Cookbook get your copy HERE

For more information on Sarah, her work and more recipes visit www.sarahflower.co.uk

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Twitter: @MsSarahFlower