Smart Ways To Boost Festive Meals!
Christmas is often linked to unwanted weight gain. But the main meals we eat at this time of year can be really healthy! Here are 5 simple ways to boost the nutrition of your meals and snacks over the next week.
1. Keep Vegetables Simple
At its simplest level, Christmas dinner is actually pretty healthy. It’s mostly meat, vegetables and natural carbohydrates like potatoes and root veg. The calories start to pile on when we add sauces, sides, marinades, gravies and fancy ways of preparing things. For an instance health-boost, pledge to keep one or two of your vegetables dishes plain and simple. No sauce, no cheese, no excess fat. Steam, roast or bake. Your guests will probably welcome one or two dishes of clean, refreshing flavours. Did you know you can even bake Brussels sprouts?
2. Sneak In Extra Vegetables
Grated or pureed vegetables can be added to a lot of baking recipes like cookies, sweet breads and loaves, and muffins. Grated courgette, pureed sweet potato or beetroot and grated carrot (nobody thinks carrot cake is weird, after all!) are just some ways to add vegetables to sweet bakes, boosting the vitamin and fibre levels and edging out some of the fats. Adding grated veg tends to keep baked goods lovely and moist so less of the calorie-laden base ingredients are needed.
3. Eat Your Antioxidants
Nature provides us with so much health on a plate, if only we know where to find it. The type of antioxidants called carotenoids include beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin and are hugely beneficial when it comes to offsetting ageing and inflammation. Foods high in these antioxidants are egg yolks, tomatoes, spinach, courgettes, butternut squash, guava, grapefruit, melon, strawberries, mango, kiwi fruit and grapes. A great way to start the day could be scrambled eggs with a side of exotic fruit or berries, or an omelette stuffed with tomatoes and spinach.
4. Boost Vitamin C
Rather than popping vitamin pills, look to festive food for extra Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for far more than keeping colds at bay. It’s good for supporting the body’s natural detox systems and for strengthening the adrenal glands, which are put under significant pressure at Christmas! Foods high in Vitamin C are best eaten raw (as cooking destroys it), so try having these foods as a raw dish or side: oranges, papaya, strawberries, pineapple or kiwi fruit. Or add freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice to foods, a great addition to salads or steamed vegetables.
5. Healthy Herbs And Spices
Fresh or dried herbs and spices are an easy and delicious way to up the nutrient levels of festive foods, for zero added calories! These foods all have antioxidant, thermogenic or other health benefits: green tea, black tea, coffee, nuts (use portion control as they are very calorific), 100% cocoa, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, fresh parsley, fresh and dried chill peppers.
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