How healthy is my Christmas plate?
For lots of people, including the talkhealth team, Christmas dinner is something to look forward to all year. From the turkey and stuffing to red cabbage and sprouts, we’ll be piling our plates high with the treats that we have missed out on for the last 365 days.
You’ll be pleased to know that your turkey dinner is as nutritious as it is delicious. With its lean meat and numerous veggies, it ticks all the boxes. Sure, not all of the foods are as healthy as a superfood salad because of the way they are cooked but, what’s the festive period if it’s not time to indulge?
As the big day creeps up on us, here is a rundown of your Christmas plate. We have also included some top tips for if you want to make dinner as wholesome as it is decadent…
The truth about Turkey
The 25th wouldn’t be the same without a toiled-over turkey. The good news is, the meat is lower in fat and richer in protein compared to both chicken and beef - a one up on the weekly Sunday roast! By taking a serving of white and dark meat you are boosting your intake of healthy fats and iron too.
Sure, basting or frying your bird is not as good for you as if you roast it, but either way, turkey is a brilliant source of vitamin B3 which aids a better metabolism. It helps your body to process sugars and fatty acids into energy, helping you to keep your energy levels up on the post-pudding dance floor.
What about roast potatoes?
58% of people say that roasties are their favourite part of the Christmas plate, and you shouldn’t feel bad about a double serving. As well as being a high source of fibre, which keep cholesterol and blood sugars down, starch is great for good gut health.
Although peeling and cutting potatoes can reduce the number of nutrients like potassium and magnesium, parboiling them increases the resistance of starch. This means, not only will your potatoes be fluffy in the centre and golden on the outside, your gut bacteria will have to work to break them down - something it loves to do!
Don’t feel guilty about pigs in blankets
Providing a double serving of protein in just one bite, eating pigs in blankets in moderation will help boost your protein levels. Yes, a bacon-wrapped sausage isn’t going to be the best for your body but by opting for high-quality ingredients, you can spoil yourself without making excuses.
If you do want to switch these trimmings out for something else, or your vegetarian, why not try switching your sausage for halloumi and bacon for aubergine?
Rave about red cabbage
It might be the one time of the year that you go to town on red cabbage, but there is absolutely no reason to feel bad about it. Red cabbage, like brussels sprouts, comes from the brassica family which is why it has a slight peppery flavour.
Red cabbage gets its vivid colour from antioxidants. These molecules fight off free radicals which damage our healthy cells. Although our bodies create free radicals naturally, if we have too many of them in our system at once it can cause inflammation.
Pile your plate with vegetables
The best thing to do to boost your Christmas plate this year is to make sure you have a wide range of vegetables alongside your proteins. Whether you choose carrots, broccoli or even brussels, don’t shy away from the foods that you know will make you feel good.
If you want to learn more about healthy food choices, head over to our talkweight hub where you’ll find loads of great resources and advice.
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 21 December 2023
Next review: 21 December 2026