Start your meal off with a nutrient-packed starter but still in-keeping with tradition. Try a seafood salad starter, oily fish is rich in omega-3 and protein and add some leaves such as spinach rich in Vitamins A, C, K and folate to make up your salad. If fish isn’t your thing why not make a big pot of veggie-packed soup instead. Use fresh, colourful vegetables to get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and just be sure to watch out for the salt content if using stock cubes.
White meat such as turkey is an excellent source of protein and turkey in particular is very lean, it’s particularly low in saturated fat. Turkey is rich in essential amino acids such as tryptophan which is important for supporting mood and sleep. Turkey is also rich in iron and B vitamins which are both important for energy production.
Why not try out a healthier cooking method and try poaching your turkey meat instead of roasting it. You can poach it in a broth of herbs, spices and vegetables and will be left with delicious soft meat.
Passionate about potatoes
Every roast dinner has to have potatoes and although they may not count towards one of your five a day, they actually contain good amounts of vitamin C, potassium and fibre. My advice is to consider how you are going to cook them and watch how much, or what type of fat you need to use:
•Bake them – Keeping the skins on will mean you can benefit from some extra fibre and no fat is needed – prick them all over and pop them in the oven for an hour on a low heat and the will be lovely and crispy on the outside with a fluffy centre
•Roast them in coconut oil – So if you can’t do without some roast potatoes try swapping regular oil for some coconut oil instead. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which have been shown to support energy expenditure and heart health. Add some rosemary which helps to support your circulation – a nice addition to a meal with a moderate fat content
•Add in some beets – Ever thought of roasting some earthy beetroot alongside your potatoes? Beetroot is a fantastic addition to your roasting tray as it rich in iron and phytonutrients, it will add a colourful splash to your plate and tastes delicious too!
Sprouts are so underrated; they really are little nutrient powerhouses! Sprouts are loaded with important vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and magnesium. Try roasting them alongside some traditional chestnuts for an added sweetness – these are another surprising source of vitamin C. If you really can’t stand sprouts substitute for a different type of green, you could opt for some frozen broad beans or curly kale – both of these can be boiled or steamed.
Cranberry sauce is a traditional ingredient and quite rightly so – berries are packed with nutrients (brightly coloured foods are often super rich in antioxidants) and cranberries boast and impressive array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, good for skin health and iodine to help support your metabolism. Cranberries are also well known for helping to support urinary tract health. Make your own cranberry sauce to avoid pre-packaged versions high in added sugar and add a splash of orange juice for an extra charge of sweetness and vitamin C.
Don’t scrimp on the veg. Vegetables are low in fat and high in dietary fibre and nutrients. As before, aim to eat the colours of the rainbow in order to benefit from as wide a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as possible!