Good Food Blog
How to make Christmas healthierPosted at 2:02PM, 05 December 2011 by Roxanne Fisher - Writer/Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
Do you love to indulge over the holiday season but then spend January in diet despair? If you want to have your Christmas cake and eat it, without the need for a New Year overhaul, then follow our simple tips for healthier festive feasting, which won't deprive you of your favourite fare.
Many a Christmas table will feature a perfectly cooked turkey as its centrepiece. This favourite festive meat is a great source of protein. Removing the skin from your serving will lower the fat and cooking with herbs, onions and citrus fruits will ensure a great flavour but fewer hidden calories.
Try our roast turkey with caramelised shallots , which comes in at just 471 calories (with the skin on).
Pile your plates high with vitamin-packed roast veggies, sweetened with a little honey, or try sumptuous sides like red cabbage with Bramley & walnuts , St Clements carrots and mashed parsnip & sprout colcannon - all guaranteed to give you that festive feeling and fill you up.
If stuffing is essential in your house cook yours outside of the bird and swap calorie-packed sausage meat with low-fat chestnuts for a much healthier but still flavourful favourite.
Sauces and Gravy
Covering your meat and veg in gorgeous gravy is a Christmas must for most of us. Try our Madeira gravy, which uses up your turkey juices (skimmed of all fat) with red wine, thickened with a little flour.
Making your own sauces is so easy there really is no excuse not too. Really simple cranberry sauce is gluten-free, low in fat and uses just three ingredients while our all-in-one bread sauce will be ready in just 20 minutes and is lovely and light.
The festive party season can take its toll with late nights and calorific canapés leaving you feeling bloated and aching from alcohol. Try sipping gin and slim line tonic at your next gathering for a low-cal tipple or, if you can't resist serving something mulled at your soirée, pack your glass with fruit such as apples and cranberries to keep your serving slim, or opt for t-total mulled apple juice - great for avoiding a holiday hangover without feeling like you're missing out.
Party snacks and innocent looking canapés can amount to fistfuls of fat. Choose yours wisely and swap stodgy sausage rolls, peanuts and crisps for olives, veggie crisps and prawns, along with fat-free clementine & prosecco jellies , smoked salmon & avocado sushi and stylish seared scallops with sweet chilli sauce .
Tucking into tempting treats in front of the TV is inevitable at Christmas. Make your sofa snacks a little less calorific with low-fat bramble marshmallows , lovely Lebkuchen biscuits and mini pistachio & chocolate macaroons next time you need a nibble.
If mince pies are your weakness, try our little Danish pastry bites as a lower fat option - you won't feel like you're missing out.
Tempt yourself away from the remaining Christmas chocolate and do something delicious and nutritious with your leftovers on Boxing Day. Turn your turkey into healthy burgers , curries and wraps while leftover cranberry sauce can be put to good use in a super healthy salad .
For more ways to enjoy a guilt-free Christmas see our collection of low-fat Christmas recipes.