For many of us Christmas is synonymous with over -indulging on food and alcohol. Those of us who have taken the precaution of prepping our bodies for this ‘stuff -fest’ may get away with gaining a few extra pounds. However, if you have neglected to go on a pre-festive diet; the immediate pressure of having to squeeze into New Year’s Eve outfits may be enough of an incentive to swap traditional calorific Christmas fare for healthier alternatives. We asked Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at Superfooduk.com* to share her tips:
Swap: Roasted potatoes in goose fat for roasted parsnips with paprika
Potatoes are also classed as root vegetables but they don’t count towards your 5 A DAY as they mainly contribute starch to the diet. 100 grams of roasted potatoes in goose fat contains 316 kcal and 13.5 grams of fat. With this meal you are taking in a whole heap of calories with not many nutritional benefits.
Parsnip is also a starchy vegetable, however it still counts towards your 5 a day because it’s a source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin c, folate and potassium. Adding the paprika gives an extra nutritional boost as well as making them delicious. It is very high in Beta Carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. 1 tablespoon of Paprika will give you 70% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A.
100 gram serving of roasted parsnips is approx. 135kcal with 5.1grams of fat, almost 3 times less than the roast potatoes!
Swap: Christmas pudding with Irish cream for clementine sorbet
These puddings are full of empty calories as they are made with dried fruit that almost always has sugar added. On top of that, the pudding mixture also calls for sugar to be added. 100 grams of this dish has 329 kcal and 46 grams of sugar. Swapping it for clementine sorbet reduces the sugar intake to 12.9 grams of sugar and the calories to 55 kcal. Obviously, these are both occasional foods and neither are classed as health food.
Swap: Pigs in blankets for Parma ham and asparagus
Pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in bacon. They are then generally fried making their fat content quite high, 19.3 grams of fat per 100 grams. They also contain 289kcal. Why not swap this unhealthy dish for Parma ham wrapped asparagus. The fibre content of the asparagus helps support healthy digestion and 100 grams of it only contains 13 kcal. Add in approx. 4 slices of Parma ham and you are still under 10 grams of fat and around 136 kcal.
Swap: Mince pies for Pavlova
Mince pie: you might think this is the healthier option as it’s based on fruit however one portion can have up to 350 kcal, almost 17 grams of fat and a whopping 20 grams of sugar (five teapsoons). Avoid these! A Pavlova with fruit and cream is slightly less in calories, with 288 kcal and 13.2 grams of fat. It is however much higher in sugar so my suggestion would be to ask for the fresh fruit with a little bit of cream (as the majority of the sugar is coming from the Pavlova base).
Swap: Stilton and port for goats cheese and grapes
Stilton cheese has a high fat and calorie content. 100 grams contains 362 kcal and 31 grams of fat. Adding a glass of port to this snack bumps up the calories another 165 kcal. Swap this for goats cheese, which has slightly less calories and less fat; 100 grams contains 320 kcal and 25 grams fat. Add some grapes instead of the port and it’s less than half the calories (57 kcal per 10 grams). This is also the kinder option for your liver as alcohol takes its toll on this vital organ.
Swap: Eggnog for prosecco
Eggnog is higher in calories; 145 kcal and 9 grams of sugar per serving. Prosecco per glass (approx. 125ml) has only 75 kcal and around 1 gram of sugar. Either option should be drunk in moderation as they both contain alcohol.
Swap: Vol-au-vent for filo tartlets
The main difference here is the type of pastry. Vol-au-vents are made with puff pastry which has 551 kcal and 38 grams of fat per 100 grams. Phyllo pastry, on the other hand, has 299 kcal per 100 grams and only 6 grams of fat.
Swap: Chocolate log for Panettone
Christmas yule (chocolate log) is a very calorie laden dessert with 100 grams having 453 kcal and 22.8 grams of fat. Swap it for Panettone with 287 kcal and 5.3 grams per 100 grams.
Swap: Honey glazed ham for smoked salmon
The calories and fat content are similar between these two products. However, smoked salmon is the better choice based on its nutritional content. Salmon is an oily fish, rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Swap: Stollen for roasted chestnuts
One slice has 254 kcal, and is high both, in fat (11.8 grams) and sugar (21 grams). Swap it for roasted chestnuts. 10 of these will provide just over 200 kcal, only 1.85grams of fat, less than 9 grams of sugar and almost 3 grams of protein.