Let’s be honest, this Christmas we all deserve a treat. And Christmas dinner will be extra special for everyone as we celebrate the simple pleasures in life and appreciate the time we get to spend together with family and friends.
But did you know Christmas dinner is also packed full of healthy, nutritious foods to help keep you healthy heading into the New Year?
Here we take a look at what makes up a traditional Christmas dinner and all the nutritious goodness that goes into it so you can decide the way to indulge this year:
Starting with the most nutritious food on your Christmas dinner plate, let’s talk about sprouts. Love them or hate them, these are packed full of vitamins including vitamins K an C. They are also high in sulphurous compounds that support the liver’s detoxification function. And although they are tastiest when combined with butter and bacon, for a healthier option, don’t drown them in it. Sprouts are most nutritious when cooked right, so try not to overcook them.
2. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is another Christmas staple that brightens up the Christmas dinner plate. It has an excellent mix of vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, which helps the body to produce red blood cells. It is a good source of vitamin C, which helps the body to fight off infections and is essential for a healthy heart.
Carrots contain beta carotene, a compound that changes into vitamin A which helps keep your eyes healthy. It also contains fiber and vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants.
Sautéing is one of the healthiest ways to cook carrots. You need only a small amount of butter or coconut oil, simple seasonings, and water to help them soften. You can add honey or maple syrup or herbs if you like but honestly, they are pretty stellar on their own.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against serious diseases. The fiber contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other nutrients.
The Christmas dinner turkey is a rich source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptothan. The white meat of turkey is also low in fat.
As long as you don’t eat too much turkey, it is a healthy way to get the protein you need.
6. Roast Potatoes
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. And although potatoes are starchy, that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy, but you should eat in moderation.
The Food Safety Authority also urges Christmas cooks who are frying, roasting, toasting or baking starchy foods, should avoid burning, and cook food to a light golden colour.
And if you want to know the secret to lower calorie roast potatoes, simply use cooking oil spray and a very hot oven. It gives the potatoes a crunch with much less fat than the traditional recipe.
7. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is naturally low in fat and has no saturated or trans fats. The juice in cranberries can lower the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the body and also have been proven to help raise the HDL “good” cholesterol.
The fiber and antioxidants found in cranberries can also contribute towards a healthier heart. With one study showing a 40% reduction in heart disease risk for those who drank it every day.
Most importantly, remember to not count calories on Christmas. Leave your holiday food guilt behind and enjoy the celebration. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Gym Plus.