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HEALTHY CHRISTMAS SWAPS FROM A NUTRITIONIST
by Dara Winters
From spending time with friends and family to ice skating in Winter Wonderland, Christmas is a time for love and happiness. And what’s a better way of experiencing love than a plate full of warm and festive food.
Most of us will be indulging at Christmas, so, I’ve put together some pretty easy swaps you could make at Christmas dinner. And don’t worry, I’m not going to be telling you to eat less or control your portions because let’s be honest no one will be doing that. It’s more about the quality of food you’re putting in your body.
Make your own cranberry sauce. There is so much sugar in store bought jams and sauces and sugar is not ideal when you’re trying to stay healthy and keep that immune system fighting strong. Pro tip: add a sachet of Tonic elderberry to the recipe for a delicious vit boost.
Shop organic. Organic food has its own microbiome that adds to the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Whilst gut health can be confusing all you need to know is we need more good bacteria because the diversity in our gut is 50% less than what it should be. The lack of good bacteria in our gut, we see a rise in disease and sickness as 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Buying locally sourced organic meat will also be better for you and for the planet.
Steam not boil. Boiling our vegetables, especially over boiling to mush, in litres of water reduces the nutritional content of our vegetables. So steaming them, in a pot not a microwave, is the way to go this Christmas.
Add fresh herbs. Herbs are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and a great way to add plants to your meal. Don’t forget they are extremely flavourful too so will make your food taste extra good too. Some great pairings are salmon and dill, potatoes and rosemary, thyme and roast vegetables and mint and peas.
Be smart with your fats. Don’t use olive oil or extra virgin olive oil. Whilst cooking with olive oil is so common, it should probably be avoided due to the low smoke temperature. What this means is that when we cook with it, it will give off toxic smoke which you then eat. So opting for an oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil would make your Christmas dinner much healthier.
Load up on the veg. Adding lots of different vegetables to your meal will add beneficial fibre and phytonutrients that will contribute to overall health. Simply adding an extra vegetable dish or two should do the trick.
Walk it off. This one really isn’t a swap but being mindful of timings is key so you have time to go for a walk and digest the big meal you’ve eaten is key.
Remember that we have our text a nutritionist service so if you have any burning questions related to nutrition and immune health, drop a message to +44 7802 136508 and Emma McKie will get back to you ASAP.
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