This week the British Nutrition Foundation released results on their recent study around food and Christmas. Interestingly, when asked about diet and fitness concerns, over half (52 percent) of females across Britain state they are worried about weight gain during the Christmas period along with over a third (39 percent) of males.
I have seen a few posts and blogs going around on how you can ‘earn’ your Christmas dinner through exercise or dieting associating it with guilt. There are quite a few things wrong with this which I won’t go into (after all it is the festive season) but after what has been a pretty tough year, with a global pandemic, people losing jobs and issues with free school meals, I don’t think earning a Christmas dinner is something we need to worry about.
I am going to focus this blog as a little bit of light hearted fun on the positives, and stand up for the traditional Christmas dinner by showing you how it is not only delicious, nostalgic and heart warming but also, a pretty balanced meal!
First up, the classic roast potatoes
Yes, those low carb diets and scare mongering posts are still doing the rounds and I have a full post on carbohydrates here.
A potato is a complex carbohydrate that we need so it can be broken down in to glucose, the glucose is then used by our body for energy and the functioning of our organs and muscles (in a nutshell) but it doesn’t stop there, the humble potato is packed with vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, fibre, potassium and folate which are all needed by our body to function normally.
I know there may be some oil added to them before the oven but come on, that’s ok too!! For example, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat which can help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol (however, the smoke point for extra virgin olive oil isn’t great at high temperatures so you may be best to use pure or light olive oil).
Second up, sprouts, carrots and those other veggies!
Yes the perfect meal to pile on the veggies, if you want to! Whether they are steamed, roasted, boiled or drowning in gravy they are still count towards your 5 a day and as you are probably aware, packed with those trusty vitamins and minerals. For example sprouts are rich in vitamin C, K, fibre and folate!
Thirdly, the protein part… turkey (and I’ll throw pigs in a blanket in here too!)
We see a lot of posts about how important protein, it seems it can do no wrong. It is used in every cell in the body and is used for growth and repair. Turkey is actually one of the leanest proteins when it comes to meat with a low fat content too (this is why it can go a bit dry sometimes). Team it with a couple of pigs in a blanket and it isn’t as calorific as those memes say… you will not turn into a pig in a blanket, trust me!
Actually for the numbers people out there, a pig in a blanket has nearly as much protein as it does fat and two oven baked are approximately 80 calories. So, let us just enjoy them in peace (if you are a meat eater that is!)
The fourth and final part… Gravy
I am northern so I do stereotypically love gravy and a Christmas dinner for me is not complete without it. A savvy top tip is to use the water from your steamed/boiled veggies in your gravy mix, any remaining nutrients may then be put back in to your meal and it saves you having to boil the kettle.
So there it is… a small summary of how a Christmas Dinner includes all our favourite food groups! What else do you have on your Christmas Dinner that I may have missed?
Have a lovely Christmas and enjoy your dinner, with or without those burpees!