Healthy Peterborough

Easy ways for a healthier Christmas dinner

Take a moment to imagine the impending feast of this year’s Christmas dinner… You may see a plate piled high with all the all the mouth-watering dishes on offer, some of you may even see a refilling of the plate for second helpings, and that’s before the Christmas pudding and desserts appear!

Many of us will put on pounds during this Christmas season. We can eat 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone, which is about 3 times as many calories as we need in a day. There are simple ways to make this Christmas dinner a healthier one which still looks and tastes delicious. 

Firstly, wake up to breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy (needed for unwrapping all those presents!) and can help to cut down on morning snacking. Eggs on wholemeal toast, porridge or wholegrain cereal are a great start to the day. Try adding seasonal fruits like satsumas or dried cranberries which count towards your 5-a-day.

The Eatwell Guide shows us which foods we need to eat and in what amounts to follow a healthy, balanced diet. As you serve your Christmas dinner try to achieve this balance on your plate. Once you have filled your plate avoid coming back for more so as not to over eatThere are some great recipes available to use up left-overs another day too!

  • Keep snacks and treats out of sight to avoid picking while you prepare or wait for the Christmas dinner. Have fruit and vegetables or other healthy snacks within easy reach instead.
  • Before you cook your turkey prick the skin to allow the fat to run out and try to cook it so it doesn’t sit in the fat.
  • When you serve the turkey remove the skin to reduce the amount of fat.
  • By cutting potatoes and parsnips bigger before roasting them will reduce the fat they absorb. Just brush them with a small amount of oil.
  • Swap sausage meat for chestnut or fruit-based stuffing to reduce the amount of fat.
  • When preparing and cooking your vegetables avoid putting any butter or fat on themAdd a variety of vegetables to one third of your plate.
  • Use skimmed milk to make a healthier bread sauce.
  • Spoon the fat off of meat juices before using them to make gravy. To do this wait for the juices to cool and the fat torise to the top then spoon it off.
  • Serve Christmas pudding with low fat-custard or try fruit salad instead. Plain natural or Greek yoghurt is a low fat alternative to cream. Once again try to have just one bowl.
  • Calories in drinks can quickly add up. Have a smaller glass or measure of alcohol and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks. Stay hydrated with plenty of water, this can help where we often mistake hunger for thirst.
After everyone has enjoyed a healthier Christmas dinner take time to go for a walk and be active.  This is a great way tohelp to burn off some of the additional calories indulged in over Christmas and to achieve a healthier you.
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