Top 5 Healthy Christmas foods
An abundance of invitations at Christmas? Entertaining at home for large numbers? Check out our top five healthy Christmas foods that will help you avoid piling on the pounds this festive season.
Healthy Christmas Foods
In spite of its reputation for being tasteless and rather unpleasant to consume, the Brussels sprout, in all its green glory, actually is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, they are a powerhouse of goodness; rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and the all-important dietary fibre. Steaming is the healthiest way of cooking sprouts and they are also wonderful chopped in half or even into small pieces. Also, try mixing in a few chopped chestnuts or walnuts for extra nutrients, which can aid in lowering blood pressure – see Fresh Nuts below
There is a tendency to think “let’s be different and not have turkey this year.” However, turkey is one of the healthiest meats you can eat, particularly if you stick to the white lean meat, and avoid the brown meat on the legs. It is the “superfood” of meat, containing almost every nutrient you could wish for: high levels of protein, a great combination of vitamins and minerals, as well as being a low-calorie food with a low percentage of fat. Turkey is also a perfect meat for diabetics, as it has a low GI count (glycemic index) and can assist in stabilising blood sugar.
Care must be taken, though, when cooking turkey. Many people slather butter over turkey, which increases the fat intake. Even worse, they eat the skin which absorbs all the unnecessary fat. The healthiest way of cooking turkey is to first lightly pierce the skin, then use a little olive oil for basting and cook the turkey upside down for the first 45 minutes. This helps drain off any excess fat. Finish by turning the turkey back up the right way and roast for the remainder of the cooking time. For more facts about turkey, visit: Britishturkey.co.uk.
Thinking of doing a Boxing Day buffet? By all means, use up the leftover turkey, but add a huge smack of goodness with a delicious whole or filleted salmon. Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy and can assist in lowering blood pressure. Opt for wild salmon if you can – it is tastier, and has less chance of containing toxins which may be present in farmed salmon. For more information on salmon, fish and shellfish visit NHS Choices.
Another little powerhouse of nutrition, nuts provide protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals. These are beneficial to both a healthy heart and regulating blood pressure. Good ones to go for are walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, and, perfect for this time of year, chestnuts. Chestnuts have the lowest fat and calories of all nuts and in their raw form are a good source of vitamin C. But, like anything, you can still have too much of a good thing, so nuts should be consumed in controlled quantities. For more information about the healthy benefit of nuts visit: BBC Good Food.
It may not sound like the most festive of foods, but eating oatmeal is a good way to start your day over the holiday season. It will keep you going as you prepare your Christmas lunch, make you feel replete and help stop you snacking. Oatmeal’s major benefit is a high content of soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol. It is also quite low in calorific value. But don’t be tempted to add sugar to sweeten it, as this will just ruin the healthy reasons for eating it. If you need a sweet kick, use add a bit of raw honey, molasses, or fresh fruit.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have a happy but healthy Christmas so make sure you have a wonderful time!