Nutrition

The Ultimate Healthy Christmas Dinner | Top Tips

Written by Alex Simpson


Tips For The Ultimate Healthy Christmas Dinner


Other than the presents, Christmas dinner is perhaps the highlight of Christmas itself, as it is certainly more spectacular than your standard Sunday roast dinner. Christmas dinner is a great way to get friends and family members around the dinner table, to bring you all together and take part in perhaps the biggest celebration of the year. For those of you who are watching your figures however, and who do not want to overdo the indulgences this Christmas, the star attraction can prove fairly troublesome. Not only is this feast very high in volumes and quantities, but it is also very high in calories and fat. Whilst this may make the ingredients taste pretty awesome, it certainly will not do your digestion much good, and as for your waistline, well, forget it. Contrary to what certain celebrity chefs and cooking programmes will have you believe however, you do not need to coat everything in fat to make it delicious, as you can actually have a very delicious and tasty Christmas dinner, and watch your figure in the process. Here are some handy tips to help you have the ultimate tasty Christmas dinner.


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Egg Yolk And Milk

 

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without mashed potatoes, and as you probably know, great mashed potatoes should be rich, light, fluffy, and creamy. Most people when making mashed potatoes, throw in copious amounts of butter and double cream to give the potatoes a rich, smooth, and creamy consistency. A great cooking hack to significantly reduce the fat and calorie content of your mashed potatoes, and still leave them rich and creamy however, is to use milk and an egg yolk instead of the butter and cream. Semi-skimmed milk is much lower in fat and calories than cream, and it will help to smooth the potatoes out. Once you’ve added the milk and mixed it in, add an egg yolk and give the mixture a good stir. The yolk makes the mash unbelievably creamy, and although it contains fats (which are healthy) it is much lower in fat and calories than butter.


Remove Any Visible Fat

 

If you’re cooking a turkey, obviously you leave the skin on as that will help keep the meat moist. After you’ve finished roasting the bird however, take the time to drain away as much fat from the baking tray as possible. Before serving, remove the skin, which is where the vast majority of the fat is found, and the meat you’re left with will be very lean and very moist. Turkey is a great source of protein and amino acids, so you can still feed those gains, although if you feel sleepy and relaxed after consuming it, this will be due to the tryptophan found in the meat. The same goes for any other meats and culinary ingredients, as if you can see any fat, trim or drain it away and your meal will be much lower in calories and fat.


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Use Leaner Meats

 

Pigs in blankets and Christmas stuffing are often the star attractions at the Christmas dinner table, and more often than not, they are also some of the most calorific culinary ingredients as well. Rather than buying ready-to-roast stuffing and pigs in blankets however, why not make your own with much leaner cuts of pork? With the stuffing, instead of fatty belly pork, go with pork shoulder, or pork loin for an even leaner stuffing. With pigs in blankets, purchase the leanest sausages you can find, trim away the fat from the bacon, and you’re laughing.


Use Less Fat

 

To create a delicious Christmas dinner, you will probably need to use a little fat, but just don’t go crazy. With your roast potatoes, instead of coating them in oil, simply throw them in with the turkey and roast them with the turkey juices and fats. If you do insist on cream and butter in your mash, simply use less, and perhaps go with single cream instead of double. Remember, you probably won’t be eating everything yourself, so don’t sweat a small knob of butter and a trickle of cream. Remember, fat doesn’t always equal flavour, so make use of seasonings, herbs, and spices instead.


HEALTHY SWAPS


Get Plenty Of Veggies

 

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without vegetables, and as you know, vegetables are very good for you. Typically you can expect to find carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and of course, the infamous Brussels sprout – all of which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vegetables are also naturally low in calories, so you can, and should, include more of them. They are also rich in fibre, which will help keep you feeling full for longer, so you’ll be less likely to overeat later on in the day, when you would normally get a craving for another mince pie or bowl of Christmas pudding.


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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