Decorations up and I’m raring to go as the party season begins. 
With the festive season now in full swing with friends, family, and an office party or two to keep us going just be mindful of good health. 
Indulgent foods and free-flowing booze make it a challenging time for most of us. 
So, what can YOU do to prevent piling on too many pounds? 
Reports suggest we can eat a staggering 6000 calories on Christmas day alone, that’s 3 times the recommended daily intake for women and over 2 times for men. Surprised? 
Christmas day is one for us all to enjoy, without worrying too much about indulging. But if you did want to try and make Christmas day little bit healthier, here are a few things you could try. 
Tips for your Christmas Lunch or Dinner 
The meat: 
Before cooking the turkey, prick the skin to allow the fat to run out and cook the bird on a wire rack or an upturned ovenproof plate so it is not sitting in fat all the time. 
The skin on turkey or goose is where most of the fat is so remove before eating to reduce saturated fat and calories from your meat. Light meat has fewer calories than dark meat. 
The stuffing: 
Instead of using sausage meat stuffing, why not replace with a chestnut, nut or fruit-based version (dried fruit works well and there are plenty of recipes online). 
The potatoes: 
Try cutting your potatoes bigger for roasting - larger pieces absorb less fat during roasting (this also applies to parsnips). Parboil them first and then finish off in the oven! 
Traditionally, animal fats like lard or goose fat are used on roast potatoes – for a healthier alternative, why not try vegetable oils like olive or rapeseed, as they are lower in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated fats. They still go crispy! 
Swap half of your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, as an alternative adding that extra vitamin C. 
If you leave the skins on your potatoes, you can up your fibre intake for the day. 
The veg: 
Serve a variety of vegetables, as different types provide different essential nutrients! 
Vegetables are what we call low-energy density foods – so you can eat lots for relatively few calories (provided they are not covered in fats like butter). Use chopped fresh herbs or lemon zest instead to add flavour. Try caraway with your carrots, or nutmeg with your Brussels sprouts for a deliciously Christmassy taste! 
Try steaming vegetables rather than boiling, as steaming retains more of the vitamins. 
Use the cooking water from the vegetables to make the gravy, as this will contain some of the vitamins from the vegetables. 
The gravy and sauces: 
To make low fat gravy, pour the turkey juices in to a jug, wait for the fat to rise to the surface and carefully pour or spoon off the fat. You can then use the remaining juices to make gravy! 
Use low salt stock cubes for gravy and try to limit salt added at the table – your food will still taste delicious without it! 
Make bread sauce with skimmed milk, and add garlic, nutmeg, cloves and a bay leaf to the milk for extra flavour – you don’t need any salt to make it tasty! 
Use the water you boiled your veggies in for extra nutrition 
The dessert: 
Christmas pudding and other festive desserts can be delicious, but also very rich – why not just opt for a small portion this year. 
The Booze: 
Alcohol may not only stimulate your appetite, but also may weaken the resolve not to over-indulge, so any good intentions you might have about eating sensibly may be lost once you’ve had a few glasses! 
Have a look at the link to see how many calories and units your Christmas tipple has: VISIT DRINKAWARE WEBSITE  
Some people believe that it’s the tryptophan in turkey that makes us feel so sleepy after Christmas dinner, but does the tryptophan in turkey have sleep-inducing effects? 
Tryptophan is an amino acid (the building blocks of proteins) that can be converted in the body to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates sleep. But evidence that tryptophan from food can induce sleep is lacking. Tryptophan is also found in many other protein-rich foods like milk, dairy products, fish and nuts. And at Christmas many other factors contribute to feelings of tiredness, such as drinking alcohol and overeating! 
Oatmeal short crust pastry 
175g rolled oats 
40g desiccated coconut 
60g ground almonds 
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or cold pressed coconut oil 
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon water to mix if needed 
Put oats, coconut and ground almonds in a food processor and add the oil, honey and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add the water and process again. The addition of water will help the cookie mixture stick together. 
Fruit mince 
500g apples, finely diced with the skin 
250g raisins 
100g dried or fresh cranberries 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
¼ teaspoon ground ginger 
Zest from ½ an orange 
500 ml fresh apple juice 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Put all the ingredients in a large pan and simmer over a gentle heat for 30 minutes. 
Stir occasionally and add more apple juice if needed. Turn off the heat and cool. 
Make up your mince pies 
Grease the tart cases with a bit of butter or coconut oil and sprinkle with a dusting of ground almonds to prevent the pastry from sticking. 
Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper and cut into circles, large enough to cover the base and sides of your tart cases. 
Fill lined tart shells with 1 tbsp of the fruit mince. 
Roll out rest of the pastry and cut out in the shape of stars and place on top of mince pies. 
Bake in a low 150 C (300 F) oven for 30 minutes or until golden. 
Recipe adapted from The Healthy Chef - 
And from us all at Windsor Wellbeing Centre have a Fab Christmas and a Healthier New Year 
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