Review: Healthy Christmas meal Options

There are many ways that our traditional meals can be just as, if not more, tasty with a few healthier options added to the menu!

It may be hard to convince the grandparents that cooking the turkey in its own juices rather than 100g of butter is for their own good, however trying a few of these alternatives may just mean that you get yourself added to the family cookbook.

Here are a few of the best substitutions that will still make your mouth water, without the added calories!

Starters:

Pic- Mary Berry

Smoked salmon on rye bread                                           Pic- Mary Berry

Smoked salmon has always been a favourite with Christmas day starters (or breakfasts), therefore why not make a slight change to the traditional chunky break or full fat cream cheeses and go for the slightly lighter version of an old time classic!

Cranberry infused meatballs with fruit dip Pic- BBC Goodfood

Cranberry infused meatballs with fruit dip
Pic- BBC Goodfood

Cranberry sauce screams British roast dinner, therefore why not add a few traditional flavours at the beginning of the meal to get yourself into the festive spirit. Using extra lean ground beef, fresh blended cranberries and a mixture of other fruits to create a dip, it couldn’t be simpler.

Mains:

Roast dinners in general aren’t actually that high in fat, considering it’s normally just a plate of fresh veg and few slices of meat, however the calories come from the forms of cooking that we believe increase the flavour, but are only increasing the waistlines!

Pic- Jamie Oliver

Skinless turkey, sweet potato mash and boiled veg Pic- Jamie Oliver

According to the NHS, 100g of butter based turkey with the skin on contains 146 kcal. However, by removing the skin and cooking it in its own juices, 100g only contains 102 kcal (2g of fat). Adding seasonings or marinating the meat in a few vegetables and spices, for 24 hours before cooking, will ensure that it contains just as much flavour, but with a much healthier approach.

Similarly, adding carrots in with the sweet potatoes and a pinch of garlic will add a comforting and traditional appeal.

Dessert:

One of the main ingredients pulling our calorie counts up when it comes to Christmas desserts is the use of alcohol in pretty much everything!

Traditional Christmas Pudding  Pic- NHS

Traditional Christmas Pudding
Pic- NHS

Swap out the alcohol and add in some dairy! Removing brandy from the recipe and adding custard or Greek yoghurt will increase the flavour and decrease the calories, saving yourself almost 120 kcal! However, if it is completely necessary, add one teaspoon of your chosen brandy into the custard to help keep traditions old.

Although the Christmas period doesn’t feel like the time to be worrying about what we are consuming, it’s just as much concern as any other part of the year – especially due to all them mouth-watering stalls at each Christmas market!- if not more.

Go to the NHS website to see the rest of their healthy Christmas options for some more inspiration:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthychristmas/Pages/Christmaslunch.aspx

Also read: https://chesterintelligencer.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/stay-healthy-this-christmas/

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