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6 switch-ups to take your Christmas dinner from heavy to healthy

December 15th 2014 / Katie Robertson Google+ 6 switch-ups to take your Christmas dinner from heavy to healthy


Keep the flavour but cut the fat with Nutritionist Jenna Zoe's top 6 Christmas dinner switch-ups

Christmas Day lunch - there’s nothing quite like it. Succulent, juicy turkey, crispy roast potatoes and a variety of seasonal stuffing flavours are just some of the decadent favourites that line our tummies.

The problem, though, is that this plate of delicious festivity often brings with it a rather unwelcome heap of heavy calories and unhealthy fats - creating a concoction that only makes the January detox that much harder.

However, here at Glossy HQ we’re big believers that healthy can be just as tasty - so, we reached out to expert Nutritionist Jenna Zoe to find out what top foodie switch-ups she recommended to help us cut the fat but keep the flavour for the ultimate Christmas day dinner.

Spring clean your stuffing

If you're going with ready­made stuffing, opt for a chestnut­ based one. Chestnuts are just as hearty and comforting as wheat or other cheap fillers, but much lighter in calories and dense in nutrients. They're also easier to digest, meaning you won't feel so heavy after the main course - (which everybody knows means more room for dessert!)

To make your own stuffing swap the bread and/or pork for cooked chestnuts in your favourite recipe and follow the rest of the instructions. Alternatively, chop one whole onion, sauté in a little oil until browned, then transfer to a food processor and blitz with two cups of cooked chestnuts, two tablespoons of dried sage, one tablespoon of thyme and one teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cool in the fridge and then stuff the turkey with it as you would regular stuffing.

Boost your Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are already healthy, but they're often overlooked because they're relatively bland compared to everything else on the plate. So, the challenge is to make them really tasty!

To take your sprouts to the next level fry two garlic cloves in some olive oil until browned, add two cups of Brussels sprouts cut in half, and sauté until they start to go brown. Pour in about 1/4 cup of water and stir in the pan until the water has evaporated. Pour in a second round of water, this time with a generous glug of soy sauce. When that has evaporated, remove sprouts from the pan and mix in the juice of 1 lime, some pecans and dried cranberries. Pure heaven.

Swap chipolatas for chicken

Meat products are where it's worth spending a little more of your food budget, because quality really reaps benefits. Chipolatas can be full of mystery meat, are often overly processed and contain carcinogenic nitrates. However, if you really want them as part of your Christmas meal, try buying a regular size organic chicken sausage and cut it into small pieces, then roast for a smokey flavour. You can also try drizzling them with truffle oil for an extra decadent taste.

Add a side salad

I grew up eating Christmas dinner with a side salad and never understood why more people don't do the same - crisp leaves with a nice acidic vinaigrette adds such a good flavour balance to the meal (it's a great contrast to all the beige, warm food).

This was a tradition for us long before I became interested in health, but now I realise that this habit also helps: fresh salad contains digestive enzymes, which give our digestive systems a helping hand at breaking down food - something we’ll definitely need for all the other foods!

For a delicious, tangy dressing combine one part grain mustard with one part honey, a splash of red wine vinegar and two parts olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Ditch the dairy with your Christmas pudding

If you love Christmas pudding but would rather skip all the dairy­licious condiments that come with it, try this:

Chill two cans of (full ­fat) coconut milk overnight; the next morning, remove the solidified top layer from both cans and discard the rest (or use for a smoothie). Place the solids in a large bowl along with a healthy sweetener such as stevia, xylitol or coconut sugar and whisk until it resembles whipped cream. For a quicker fix, you could also serve your pudding with a dollop of Coyo.

There are also lots of great christmas puddings available that are made without gluten, dairy and sugar: The Village Bakery is my favourite.

Quit the Quality Street

There are so many delicious healthy alternatives for the post­ feast TV marathon. Try Booja Booja's Vegan Chocolate Truffles or Plamil's no added sugar Chocolate Snowmen. Alternatively, melt down some dark chocolate with your favourite roasted nuts, dried coconut or granola for an easy homemade chocolate bark.


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