Christmas, the one time of year where you can truly indulge in festive foods. We’re not suggesting you avoid the mince pies and mulled wine entirely. But if you try to fill up on a few of these nutritious beauties, you’ll keep your Christmas dinner on the virtuous end of the health scale. Read on for these Top 5 Healthy Christmas Foods!
1. Brussels sprouts
Not everyone’s Christmas highlight, but a Christmas dinner isn’t a proper dinner without Brussels! These cruciferous vegetables resemble mini cabbages, some people love them others hate them, but to every individual, they taste different. Brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassicaceae family, closely related to kale, cauliflower and mustard greens. Low in calories, they are high in many nutrients, especially fibre, Vitamin K and C. They also contain kaempferol, an antioxidant that can help decrease inflammation, promote heart health and contain cancer-fighting properties. Don’t fancy boiling your Brussels this year? Steam them, far tastier. Top tip: the smaller the Brussel, the sweeter it is, and the larger it is the more it’s going to taste of cabbage!
A clementine in your stocking – the sign that you’ve been good all year! Perhaps not given as stocking fillers anymore, this ancient Christmas tradition of receiving vitamin-C packed fruits was once a novelty. A healthier sweet alternative to the endless supply of Christmas chocolate, 100g (one large fruit) contains over 60% of your recommended intake of immune-boosting vitamin C. Perfect for when you’re feeling a little run down with all the celebrating!
Cinnamon is a familiar smell that is associated with Christmas festivities. Found in gingerbread men recipes and spiced caramel lattes, this fragrant spice has some powerful therapeutic properties. There is some evidence to suggest that consumption of cinnamon (short term) is associated with a reduction in blood pressure. It has also been suggested that cinnamon can have a moderate effect in improving glycemic control and the management of type 2 diabetes. Top tip: sprinkle cinnamon on your porridge in the morning, or add it to your coffee!
4. Smoked salmon
Whether you have it for breakfast with scrambled eggs on Christmas morning, or you tuck into it at the Boxing day buffet, smoked salmon is a great source of protein, with more than 15g in each 3oz serving. Containing B-complex vitamins, as well as magnesium and selenium, it’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that up to 80% of us are deficient in during the winter months.
“Roasted on an open fire,” packed in stuffing or simply steamed and sprinkled over your Christmas veggies, these festive favourites are an old tradition. Unlike other nuts and seeds, chestnuts are relatively low in calories and fats, rich in fibre for digestive support and a great source of Vitamin B6, C and manganese.
If you’re feeling up for a challenge, and don’t want to pile on the pounds by overindulging on Christmas day treats, take a look at these meal plans for eating on Christmas day under 2,500 calories! Let us know how you think you’ll manage to keep the calories down this Christmas by commenting below, on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!