Mince pies, mulled wine, cheese boards and seemingly bottomless tins of Quality Street… Christmas can be a minefield of temptation when we’re trying to eat well! But here’s the good news – you can still enjoy your favourite seasonal foods without breaking your healthy habits, by making just a few simple tweaks.
Here’s how to hack your Christmas Dinner for a guilt-free festive feast:
Turkey is actually a very healthy meat – it’s low in fat, high in protein and contains lots of nutrients. But it’s the skin that contains lots of fat. By removing the skin from your portion you’ll save calories – particularly on drumsticks where there’s more skin to meat ratio.
No, we don’t mean a large portion (sorry!) but large pieces. By cutting your potatoes and parsnips into larger chunks, they have less surface area and absorb less fat. Use a teaspoon or two of olive oil (with a couple of spritzes of 1-cal spray to top up if needed) instead of goose fat or butter, and season with rosemary or garlic rather than salt.
Opt for a veggie stuffing rather than a meat one; they are lower in calories and saturated fat but just as tasty! Try sage and onion or mushroom and chestnut for a delicious healthy alternative.
…with veg! Fill up on lovely sprouts, carrots, peas or whatever veggies you like. Boil your vegetables in unsalted water, or even better – steam them! Careful not to overcook your veg either, or they’ll lose all their precious nutrients (plus… smooshy veg = yuck!)
Make your bread sauce using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk to save on calories and fat. Use bay leaves and nutmeg for flavour instead of salt.
Use reduced-salt instant gravy granules, or make your own so you know what’s in it! Drain the meat juices into a jug and leave it for a few minutes – this will allow the fat to rise to the surface so that you can skim it off.
Cranberry sauce can be packed with sugar so use the BHF Label Reader to check the stats and choose the lowest sugar one you can find. Or better still, make your own so you know what’s in it!
Cut cheese into thin slices so you’ll consume less but still be able to enjoy the taste. Also fill your cheese board with healthy accompaniments like grapes and celery – there will be less space for excess cheeses!
Take the pastry off the top of your mince pies – you’ll save loads of calories and probably won’t even notice the difference!
Christmas pudding is a classic and a small portion can be enjoyed guilt-free! Health hack it by switching the calorific cream or brandy butter for crème fraiche.
BeeZee Bodies top tip: Aim for weight maintenance over the Christmas period! This means you can still enjoy some of your favourite treats, but won’t be facing a weight gain when the festivities are all over – way to beat the January blues and have a motivating start the New Year!