Words by Christine Rocha
As the countdown to Christmas continues, avoiding festive weight gain is a hot topic. It may sound too good to be true, but you can keep those kilos off during this season of indulgence and enjoy some of your holiday favourites at the same time! If you love to graze on festive fare throughout the day, try cutting back and making Christmas lunch your biggest meal of the day. Eating half your daily kilojoules between noon and 2pm is best, as this is when your digestion is at its strongest and your body can tackle and break down those nutritionally dense, heavier foods on the dining table.
So this season eat smart and manage the type and amount of foods you eat . Here are five of the best good-for-you, feel-good Christmas foods.
Seafood and shellfish. Seafood is a given on most Aussie Christmas table. Oysters are an excellent source of zinc for optimum skin and immune health and an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (good for heart health). Another benefit is they are imbued with useful amounts of niacin, which helps your body convert that Christmas dinner into energy.
Potatoes. Whether you enjoy them roasted or in a cold salad, potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and low in saturated fat (if cooked in vegetable oil). They also contain iron and vitamin C, a double whammy since iron is best absorbed with vitamin C present. Plus they contain reasonable amounts of fibre, an added bonus.
Turkey. Ever wondered why you feel sleepy or sluggish after a big Christmas lunch? The traditional roast turkey is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts into sleep regulating neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin. Nutritionally and without the skin, white turkey meat is an excellent lean protein, a delicious way to indulge without leaving you feeling too guilty!
Cranberry sauce. Adding a side of cranberry sauce to your plate this Christmas is a great way for a dose of vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin C are vital for optimum skin health as they contain free radical fighting antioxidants and are key components for your skins natural collagen production.
Mince pies. It wouldn’t be Christmas without these on the table! However, the way these pies are made impacts the nutritional content. Since a majority of the bad saturated fat comes from the traditional thick pie pastry, use a thinner pastry and add more dried fruit mix. This results in a lower saturated fat content and bumps up the fibre and potassium content which comes from the dried fruit.
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