Christmas time rolls around the same time every year without fail. In the run up we get excited and we make plans to have our family round and begin shopping for all the essentials while the kids count down the days to the big event with their advent calendars. It truly is a holiday enjoyed by children and adults alike. One of the most important traditions to get just right of course (as everyone seems to look forward to this aspect most of all) is the traditional Christmas dinner. It can be a brilliant day for those getting to sit back and enjoy the long awaited meal but a highly stressful day for the chef who is relying on a 20 pound turkey to cook to perfection so that they can satisfy 12 hungry family members! Yet still, the tradition remains to this very day.
However, regardless of the fact that we have all been eating the same dinner once a year for as long as can be remembered, most people without fail every year will begin dieting in advance to be able to ‘treat’ themselves to the lovely Christmas meal. The magazines all flash “get slim after Christmas” or “Make a healthy Christmas dinner for the family”. Basically you are blasted with all kinds of weight loss diet programs throughout January. Whatever happened to just enjoying a century old tradition, making the food as yummy as possible and feeling good about it for one day of the year? Well, I am here to relieve you of some of that dreaded guilt this year so you can finally enjoy your grub – stress free!
There are plenty of foods that we all put on our Christmas plate that actually have positive health benefits associated with them and contain nutrients. Lets take a look….
If we are sticking with the old traditions then turkey is definitely the meat of choice on our Christmas dinner plates which is actually great news! Turkey has recently become a favourite food for dieters and for good reason. The meat is extremely lean so packed full of protein and unlike other meats, cooking the Turkey with the skin on ensures it’s extremely moist but the juices do not get soaked in to the meat adding calories. Hence, it is extremely low in fat and if you don’t eat the skin you can save yourself around another 40 calories per portion. Turkey is already extremely low in fat at around only 1 gram per ounce of flesh. In addition, the meat contains vitamins B, B1, B6, zinc and potassium which keep cholesterol down, regulates blood pressure and boosts the immune system. It has also been found that Turkey contains a chemical mood enhancer so it helps keep the family cheery on the day.
This may seem like a crazy notion but potatoes actually contain more vitamin C than a glass of orange juice. As this vitamin is vital at protecting our cells and therefore, keeping us healthy, lowering cholesterol and fighting allergies such as asthma, I would say potatoes should play a pretty important role in our diets all year round. Scientists have recently found that potatoes also contain a compound that can lower blood pressure.
Christmas Cake & Mince Pies
Before denying yourself a lovely slice of Christmas cake this year or a mince pie, remember that they are full of dried fruit. This provides a concentrated mix of antioxidants and the spices like cinnamon have been shown to soothe digestion, regulate blood sugar and reduce stomach acidity. They also contain fibre and iron.
And don’t forget to enjoy the time with your family and laze around as this gives your body a chance to boost immunity, repair tissues and boost your memory as well.
So there you have it, no months of miserable dieting beforehand and the permission to never feel guilty about your beloved Christmas dinner ever again. Who knew festive indulgence could be so good for quick weight loss weird.. eat up!
Another Christmas dinner staple on every table in the UK is the famous cranberry sauce. These bright red berries are mushed down and used as a condiment to our lovely (low in fat of course) turkey. The benefit of eating cranberries is that they are packed full of antioxidants which are vital in treating infections especially in the area of women’s health. People may not realise that they also contain a lot of vitamin C which we need to protect our cells and keep them healthy whilst also helping the body to absorb other vitamins. Eating cranberries can also help to reduce blood pressure and prevent stomach ulcers, heart disease and some cancers.
Many people eat brussel sprouts on Christmas day, some just claim to have eaten them (but secretly hate them) and others don’t let any brussel sprouts anywhere near their plate at all regardless of what other family members say. They really are the marmite of the veggie world but love them or loathe them they are an age old tradition to the meal. And maybe we should begin to like them after all. Just like cranberries and unexpectedly, they are packed full of vitamin C (great for having perfect skin on New Years Eve) and can prevent cancers such as breast, colon and prostate. They are also high in fibre which helps keep the digestive system in working order but is overall important for the body in general.
As well as eating our Brussels sprouts on Christmas day we eat a variety of other vegetables too. These each contain varying properties depending on which veggies we choose but help us to eat our five a day either way! Essentially, Christmas day is the easiest day to get all of our recommended portions of fruit and vegetables.
Chestnuts more often than not form part of the stuffing and the good news is that they are low in fat, have a high starch content and contain the vitamins B and C. In addition, they also contain potassium and folate so overall they are great for protecting you against that winter cold! They also provide some protection again heart disease.