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Christmas Dinner made healthier.



Our Tips for Improving the Health-Benefits of Christmas Dinner without Compromising on Taste


Christmas Dinner is the roast of the year and so much extra love and care is out into up and down the land - however, with this extra attention usually comes extra calories, saturated fat and salt.


Here are a few Fresh 4 Life Fitness healthier switches and tips to make your dinner the crowd pleaser it’s always been whilst cutting back on some of elements our bodies could do without - there’s a lot of festive eating and drinking to be done after all!


The Meats


Whatever the meat or veggie options that form your centre-piece a top tip from us to let the meat’s flavour shine through without too much added fats and salts.


Quite often butter is added under the skin of the Turkey or Chicken and joints are heavily seasoned.


Our top tip would be:


● Cover chicken or turkey for three quarters of the cooking time and uncover for the last to crisp up the skin - remember, most of the saturated fats are in the skin so for those wanting to maintain their health goals, stick to the meat only

● For extra love on the birds, spray with a vegetable spray oil (rapeseed is best) and sprinkle mixed herbs across evenly - a large chicken would need approx 4 sprays evenly spread which is equivalent 4 Calories

● Make your own pigs in blankets using chicken sausages and the medallions of the bacon - chicken sausages are usually around half the calories of pork sausages and around 5 times less fat and saturated fats




The Roasties


Arguably one of the best parts of the Christmas Dinner - we want them crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. We’re not all about taking away the good stuff so this recipe is about getting some extra goodness into your potatoes and making them super crispy and fluffy!


So here’s the Fresh 4 Life Fitness healthier version which uses wholemeal flour and this is why:


● It makes the potatoes super crispy and yummy!

● It has around six times more dietary fibre content to it’s white counterpart which has several health benefits including promoting more efficient digestion, lowering blood cholesterol

● It has a lower GI (Glycemic Index) than white flour which allows your body to convert it into glucose at a rate it can more effectively circulate to cells for fuel avoiding blood sugar spiking and the subsequent conversion of excessive glucose to store as fat

● It contains several vitamins, including folate, riboflavin and vitamins B-1, B-3 and B-5 which are important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly, convert food into energy (metabolism), creating new blood cells, and maintaining healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues


Additionally, this recipe uses vegetable oil instead of the traditional goose fat which has two thirds less saturated fat.


Ingredients:

Use 1 med-large or 2 smaller potatoes per person


Potatoes

Wholemeal Flour

Vegetable Oil (Rapeseed is best)


Method:

Prep Time is 25 Mins

Cook time is 90 Mins in total


● Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and position a shelf in the middle-lower part of the oven

● Wash, dry and peel the potatoes and cut them into a desirable size with a flat side ideally

● Add to a pan of water and bring to the boil, cook for 4 Mins


● Pour flour into a container that potatoes can be added to and rolled around

● Drain the potatoes and allow them to steam dry before shaking them in the pan to rough up the outsides

● Put a frying pan on a high med-high heat and add rapeseed oil to cover the bottom on the pan - this is less than a shallow fry amount and is just a coating

● Roll each potato in the flour and carefully add to the frying pan - don’t overfill the pan, it’s best to cook in batches


● Cook each side of each potato until golden and move onto a baking tray

● Once all potatoes have been fried bake in the oven for 90 Mins making sure to turn them every 20 Mins for even crunch


TIPS

● Make sure the oven is up to full temp before putting the potatoes in the oven

● Make sure you turn them to bake evenly

● Keep the boiled water from the potatoes to add to your gravy as it contains nutrients from the potatoes


The Yorkies


Yorkies are a staple for any Sunday or Special Roast (I know this is highly debated for the Christmas Dinner) and we wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on them entirely so here’s the Fresh 4 Life Fitness healthier version which uses wholemeal flour and this is why:


● It has around six times more dietary fibre content to it’s white counterpart which has several health benefits including promoting more efficient digestion, lowering blood cholesterol

● It has a lower GI (Glycemic Index) than white flour which allows your body to convert it into glucose at a rate it can more effectively circulate to cells for fuel avoiding blood sugar spiking and the subsequent conversion of excessive glucose to store as fat

● It contains several vitamins, including folate, riboflavin and vitamins B-1, B-3 and B-5 which are important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly, convert food into energy (metabolism), creating new blood cells, and maintaining healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues


Additionally, this recipe uses vegetable spray oil and skimmed milk which reduces the calories and saturated fat content as a switch to hard fats (e.g. lard) and full fat milk.


Ingredients:

Makes 6 Yorkshire Puddings (Standard Tin)

A Serving of 2 Yorkies Contains:


5 Large Eggs

125g Wholemeal Flour

125ml Skimmed Milk

Salt & Pepper (½ tsp of each)

Vegetable Spray Oil (Rapeseed is best) or ¼ tsp non-spray oil per Yorkie


Method:

Prep Time is 5 Mins

Cook time is 35 Mins in total


● Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius and position a shelf in the middle of the oven

● Place eggs and flour in bowl and mix together well

● Add the milk and mix thoroughly to form a batter which runs through a fork with ease

● Mix in seasoning and place batter in the fridge - this can be for several hours but make sure to give it a good mix when it comes back out

● Spray each well in the Yorkie Tin with 2-Sprays of oil and use a pastry brush to coat the entire well

● Place tray in preheated oven for 5-mins to heat the oil

● Take the Yorkie mix out the fridge and mix

● Remove the tray from the oven, maintaining as much heat as possible in the oven and quickly fill each well just over half way with the batter - it should sizzle

● Quickly put the tin back in the oven on the middle shelf (make sure there’s nothing above as they could rise further than expected!)

● Leave for 20 mins

● Reduce the heat to 200 degrees celsius and cook for a further 10 mins

● Serve them up


TIPS

● Make sure the oven is up to full temp before putting the oil in to preheat and try to retain as much heat as possible in the oven and the tin when getting the batter in - heat is of the essence!

● Can be made ahead to avoid temperature clashes with the other elements, reheat for 1 min at 200 degrees celsius




The Veggies


May not get the same amount of hype as the other elements of the Christmas Dinner but done right they bring a beautiful pop of colour and a great bout of nutrients and fibre.


Carrots

Great for supporting bone and eye health as well as helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.


The best way to maximise the nutritional value is to steam them and leave the peel on, but the larger the pieces the better so for that special Christmas twist why not try roasting them whole or in half lengthways if bigger. This will allow the natural sugars in the carrot to caramelise and they can go in alongside the roasties.


Parsnips

Great source of dietary fibre and rich in several important nutrients and antioxidants that can improve immunity and enhance digestive health.


Recommendation is to adopt the prep for the carrots and roast them whole or in half lengthways if bigger. This will allow the natural sugars in the parsnip to caramelise and they can go in alongside the carrots and the roasties.


Broccoli

An all round super veg bringing green to your plate with a high level of antioxidants and dietary fibre making this great for reducing spikes in blood sugar, reducing inflammation and supporting bone, brain and eye health as well overall immune system health.


Recommendation is to cut into florets (try to get them a similar size but cutting larger florets in half) and put in a steamer for 7-Mins once the water is boiling.


Sprouts

Love or hate them we tend to feature them on our Christmas Dinners and sprouts are packed full of dietary fiber, antioxidants and are a great source of Omega-3 Fatty acids which help support heart health. So here’s a way to get wonderful taste out of them and add a lovely twist to the meal.


Cut a large red onion into thin half moon slices and add to a frying pan with 2 sprays of rapeseed oil, cook on a low heat until browning and the onion sugars have naturally caramelised.




Whilst the onions are cooking, remove the outer leaves from each sprout and cut in half. Add to a steamer with water boiling and seam for 4-5 mins until softened slightly.


Add the sprouts to the onions and cook for another 5 mins or until they are as soft as desired, this allows the sprouts to pick up the caramelised onion flavour and brings an interesting side to the dinner table.


Veggie Tips

● Wash all veggies well and pat dry before adding to the roasting tin

● Keep the skin on carrots and parsnips for extra dietary fibre which reduces spiking in blood sugar and keeps you fuller for longer

● Avoid adding extras such as honey to carrots and parsnips as they have natural sugars that caramelise wonderfully if roasted gently giving you the full flavour profile

● Avoid boiling veggies in water if possible as this reduces the nutritional value, if you do boil veggies, do it for as long as needed to slightly soften and use the water for gravy to get some of those nutrients back into the dish

● Avoid cooking veggies with salt as the sodium content of your Christmas Dinner is on the higher side due to the proteins and gravy and people tend to reach for the salt at the table - people can always add more seasoning if they choose it and it gives them an opportunity to taste the wonderful taste each veggie has to offer



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