Superfoods for Christmas
Christmas foods have a bit of a bad wrap! (Please forgive the pun.) Too many mince pies, mulled wine (and all the other drinks), servings from the cheese platter and candy canes leave many of us stuffed, sluggish and soooooo not looking forward to dieting in January. But many traditional Christmas foods are incredibly nutritious. We invite you to fill up on these superfoods this year and enjoy the less healthy treats in moderation.
- Turkey is a feel-good superfood. It’s high in protein, vitamins B6 and B12, potassium and zinc. Remove the skin and it’s low in fat too. And it’s a serotonin booster (the feel-good hormone) because it’s high in the amino acid tryptophan. (Just go easy on the gravy!)
- Smoked Salmon is a fantastic source of protein, Omega-3s and Vitamin D. It’s also high in (good) fat and salt, but it’s a healthy enough indulgence on Christmas Day.
- Prawns/ Shrimp are low in fat and high in copper, zinc, and selenium (important for healthy hair and nails.) Maybe blend up your own healthy dipping source with low-fat natural yoghurt, lime, and coriander to maximise the goodness.
Every nut has a slightly different nutritional profile, but between them, a handful of nuts bring a host of vitamins, fibre, and good fats. Admittedly, roasted and salted, or candied, they become more of a treat and less of a superfood. Why not add them to stuffing, sprinkle over salads or roast your own gently to control the process?
You might think you don’t like Brussel Sprouts, but that’s probably because you haven’t had them blanched and then lightly fried (in a healthy oil) with sage and chestnuts. The good news is that this cooking method leaves them tasting much better than the overly boiled sprouts you might have tried before, but also preserves their high Vitamin C content. They’re also high in fibre, folic acid, and potassium.
Carrots and Roasted Parsnip round out the traditional Christmas meal, bringing yet more fibre, folic acid, Vitamin C, and manganese to the table. If a cooler meal is more your thing Superfood salads incorporating Figs and Cranberries could stand in for the vegetables. (Check out the Mason Jar salad technique for preparation ahead of time.)
Desserts and treats featuring Cinnamon and Nutmeg will be packed with minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, manganese and thiamin. And Dried Fruits while calorific still count towards your five a day. (Maybe replace the sugar for monk fruit or another natural sweetener if you’re baking yourself so as not to undo all the good the fruit and spices are doing.)
Add a Clementine to the Christmas stockings and you have a super-food packed traditional Christmas menu.
We wish you a very happy, healthy Christmas!
Matthews, L. (2015). Twelve Days of Christmas Super Food. [Online] Available at https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/christmas-super-foods. Accessed on 20/10/2022.
BBC Good Food. (n.d.) Brussel sprouts with chestnuts & sage recipe. [Online] Available at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/brussels-sprouts-chestnuts-sage. Accessed on 20/10/2022.