Easy Christmas Food Swaps for a Healthier Christmas
We all overindulge at Christmas time; something we look at in greater detail in Prevent Piling on the Pounds at Christmas. This time, in our Christmas healthy eating series, we are going to look at the healthiest of food swaps that you can make to ensure that you don’t pile on the pounds and remain healthy through the festive period.
From start to finish, we’ll look at how you can make your Christmas dinner one that isn’t calorie-filled and we are about to show you how… Are you ready?
We’ll start with the obvious – the turkey. You can’t have a Christmas day dinner without turkey, can you? The good news about turkey is that it is a pretty healthy meat anyway. There’s plenty of protein and if you remember to remove the skin, it’s pretty low in fat as well. There are lots of B vitamins packed in there, and this is great for the production of energy.
As long as you remove the skin, your Christmas dinner will be relatively healthy. Sadly the skin is often considered the best bit so it might take a bit of will power on your side to turn it down. Just by removing the skin, however, you have the option to save around 40 calories on every portion of turkey alone. If you normally have two helpings of this white meat with your Christmas dinner, that’s 80 calories saved straight away.
Swap the skin for just the white meat and that’s a potential saving of 80-100 calories straight away! It’s as easy as that.
Gravy is well known to be high in salts and fat so if you want to make it into a healthy alternative, you should drain the fat and juices from the turkey, leave it to one side and wait for the fat to solidify on the top. Scrape this off (although it sounds pretty disgusting) and just use what is left. By doing this, you are removing the highest fat content and you can make the gravy much healthier to eat with your Christmas dinner. You should also try to avoid adding any more salt to the meal to ensure that you don’t consume too much on this festive day.
Most of our team love our Mother’s roast potatoes, especially on Christmas day, and if you feel that you can’t live without them for this Christmas coming, have a couple but swap the rest for a jacket potato instead. 100g of potatoes that have been part boiled and roasted in olive oil will add an extra 150+ calories on your Christmas day dinner, and will also add around 5g of fat into the mix. The average baked potato has around 50-60 calories less, depending on whether you use butter or low-fat margarine. That’s one of the easiest swaps that you can make and most of us make more than one type of potato on Christmas day anyway, don’t we?
You can have a Christmas day dinner without a nice helping of vegetables and the good news is that these are actually very good for you… depending on how you cook and prepare them. We are all guilty of smother our vegetables with butter so try avoiding the butter altogether or swap for a low-fat spread instead. This swap alone could save you around 50-75 calories. If you don’t like the vegetables bland and without butter, why not try adding some spices or herbs to them as you are making them? You add flavour without calories when you do this and you will find that not only does your Christmas day dinner taste lovely, it’ll also be a bit healthier for you as well!
Why not add some Brussel’s sprouts to your meal? They may stink before and after you eat them (let’s not pretend they don’t make you smell…) but they are packed full of good stuff including B vitamins and vitamin C, and have anti-oxidant properties which can help you to protect yourself against things like cancers and other potentially fatal conditions.
You can’t have a Christmas day dinner without the Christmas pudding and this is one of the most calorific parts of the dinner. Well, that’s if you put aside the snacks you are going to be munching down on throughout the day. The pudding itself will be pretty low in fat content whilst still being high in carb content. There are some good things in there though – lots of calcium and iron, potassium and B vitamins.
When it comes to the custard, there are a couple of swaps that you can make to ensure that your Christmas day dinner isn’t too calorie filled. Making it with low fat milk is a good start, or you could even get reduced fat/calorie custard ready-made in cans these days which basically does all the hard work for you. It will be healthier if you make it yourself, of course, but who really has time for that on top of everything else on Christmas day?
So there you have them – the easiest swaps that you can make to your Christmas day dinner to make it much healthier. By doing these simple tricks, you could lose up to 500 calories and even more in some cases!
We will continue to bring you the very best hints and tips on how to prevent yourself from getting fat at Christmas time. Why not keep your eyes peeled for more…?