Tuesday, 23 December 2014

What’s in your Christmas dinner?

For most of us, Christmas is a time for presents, parties and piling on the pounds. But despite it only coming once a year, December 25th can be a daunting day for the more health-conscious.

LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor decided to do a little investigating to find out just how nutritious – or potentially artery-clogging – some of our favourite festive nibbles and tipples really are:-

Champagne contains about the same amount of calories as a chocolate Digestive biscuit, which makes it one of the lighter Christmas tipples. But studies have shown that the carbon dioxide it contains can get you drunk quicker. If you’re feeling a little tiddly after a couple of glasses, have a glass of water and eat something to line your stomach.

Mixed nuts
Don’t be fooled – a pot of mixed nuts might be high in protein, but they're also very calorific and tend to come covered in salt and oil.

Turkey is low in fat, high in protein, and contains a lot of B vitamins. It also contains tryptophan, which – when consumed with carbohydrates – produces melatonin, inducing that familiar Christmas day drowsiness.

To make your meal a little healthier, try removing the skin before you eat the turkey and bear in mind that light meat tends to be less fatty than dark meat.

Roast potatoes
Before they’re cooked, potatoes are almost fat free! To keep them as healthy as possible, cut them into large chunks (the bigger they are, the smaller their overall surface area, meaning less fat is absorbed). You can also switch goose fat for unsaturated vegetable oils.

Brussels sprouts
Sprouts contain lots of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and carotenoids (which are great for keeping your eyes healthy). They also contain high levels of raffinose, which cannot be broken down by the stomach. In the lower intestine, raffinose is fermented by bacteria, leading to the production of smelly gases!

Make your grave healthier by using the water you’ve cooked your vegetables in, and skimming any fat off the meat juices before adding them.

A traditional chestnut stuffing will pack a nutritional punch. Chestnuts are low in fat, high in vitamin C and potassium and are a healthy, tasty alternative to sausage meat.

Cranberry sauce
Cranberries are a brilliant source of antioxidants, as well as vitamin C and fibre. Cut down on added sugar and additives by making it yourself.

Christmas pudding
Though Christmas pudding is packed with sugar, it’s also low in fat and high in fibre, and contains lots of B vitamins, potassium and calcium. Boost the health benefits of your pud by making it yourself (shop bought will contain more fat and sugar).

Any drink that contains sugar, cream and booze is unlikely to get the seal of approval from a doctor! But there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of indulgence on Christmas Day. Just make sure you enjoy your eggnog in moderation…

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of chocolate. But if you’re worried about overdoing it, you can always swap your white or milk chocolate for darker varieties that contain less fat and sugar, and more antioxidants and essential minerals.

That's Christmas would like to thank Dr Tom, the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor for his invaluable help in putting this article together. https://onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com.

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