December 2, 2015
How to make your Christmas dinner healthy
Now that it’s December, many of us have begun to get into the festive spirit: from visiting the Christmas markets in various towns and cities to embarking on an evening filled with ice skating and a side of mulled wine.
There are many ways to get into the spirit of Christmas, but at the same time, lots of ways to fall into unhealthy habits. Of course, the festive period brings with it an influx of food and drink that’s typically high in sugar and fat.
While we aren’t here to put a dampener on your festive spirit, we are here to tell you how you can still enjoy the season by making better-informed, healthier food choices.
Here are a few tips for making your Christmas dinner healthy:
Use sweet potatoes
Potatoes are a staple Christmas dinner food, but aren’t the healthiest of vegetables. They are a rich source of starch and carbohydrates, which can leave you feeling uncomfortable and bloated should you consume too much.
Rather than putting traditional potatoes on your Christmas dinner plate this year, swap them for sweet potatoes instead. These are a healthier – and just as tasty – alternative that will add a savoury touch to your dish with a hint of sweetness.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A, which is a key nutrient for promoting healthy vision and a strong immune system.
Roast root vegetables
A Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without some root vegetables. Parsnips and carrots are both popular choices and work exceptionally well together.
It can be tempting to fry your vegetables, but in fact, roasting them is a much healthier option. Simply chop your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and scatter them onto a foil-lined baking tray.
You can season them with traditional herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, then brush a thin layer of olive oil over the top, so they crisp up nicely.
Coconut oil instead of goose fat
Goose or duck fat is typically doused over potatoes before roasting, in a bid to give them a light brown, crispy top. The clue is really in the name, but using goose and duck fat to roast potatoes is an extremely unhealthy method and can increase one’s risk of health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Rather than using pure fat, rub a little coconut oil onto your potatoes. Organic, raw, virgin coconut oil is the best option and has been famed for its health benefits. The coconut oil will work to produce the same crisped potatoes, without the unhealthy fat content.
What’s more, it can be used on skin and hair, as well as in cooking, so you can kill two birds with one stone this Christmas.
Wholemeal Yorkshire puddings
Another Christmas dinner staple is Yorkshire puddings. These are normally filled with gravy and complement meats like turkey and chicken.
While you can buy pre-made, frozen Yorkshire puddings, it is best to make your own. This way, you know exactly what you’re putting into them and can ensure they are as healthy as can be.
The traditional ingredients are plain flour, whole milk, eggs and sunflower oil, but you can swap these for healthier alternatives. For example, switch the plain flour for wholemeal flour, the whole milk for skimmed milk, and the sunflower oil for coconut oil.
The result? Fluffy, delicious Yorkshire puddings with fewer calories.