It’s official: Christmas is coming and there’s nothing you can do about it. The festive season brings parties, lunches, alcohol, stress, food, food, and more food – it can all be a bit overwhelming. For many, this can also bring a sense of anxiety and guilt around eating, as well as the usual avalanche of quick fix Christmas diet articles (yep, the classic How to Avoid Christmas Weight Gain).
They may not always be sugar free, fat free or raw vegan but Christmas foods often unfairly cop a bad reputation.
So let’s put all the food fear aside for one moment and stop to consider the good. Here’s what we’re loving about our Christmas favourites, starting with an Aussie specialty: prawns.
The prawns. Whether you throw them on the barbie or dip them in cocktail sauce, these little crustaceans are full of goodness. Per gram, prawns actually contain more protein than beef or chicken. They are also a sustainable source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are linked to reduced risk of heart disease and can help reduce inflammation.
The Roast Turkey. Skinless turkey meat is low in fat and a really good source of protein, helping you to feel more satiated after a meal. It also provides plenty of zinc and selenium, two nutrients that assist the immune system (super beneficial at this time of year when we are all feeling a bit run down). It’s also a good source of iron, so don’t forget to serve with a generous helping cranberry sauce; the vitamin C from the cranberries helps the body to absorb more of this important mineral.
Roast veggies. Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin contain carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which is a vitamin converted to vitamin A in the body. Using a little oil to roast your veg helps the body to absorb these nutrients as they are fat soluble – great news as vitamin A helps with our skin and eyesight. Using extra virgin olive oil for cooking can actually enhance the amount of antioxidants we absorb from foods as well.
Red, red wine. Let’s face it, Aussies love any excuse to feel good about drinking. So, you probably already know that red wine is full of powerful polyphenols; a special plant nutrient that can help reduce risk of cardiovascular diseaseChiva-Blanch G, Arranz S, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Estruch R. Effects of Wine, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Evidences from Human Studies. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2013 May , 48 (3): 270-277. However if you’re not a red wine drinker, there is good news. Polyphenols are also contained in red grape juice potentially provide all the benefits, minus the aching head. Vinson JA, Teufel K, Wu N. Red wine, dealcoholised red wine and especially grape juice inhibit atherosclerosis in a hamster model. Atherosclerosis. 2001 May 156 (1):67-72
Fruit cake. You either love it or you hate it, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Luckily you can enjoy a slice of spicy, rich Christmas cake knowing it’s a source of fibre thanks to all that dried fruit. One slice contains around 3g or around 12% of your daily fibre needs.
Cherries. December is just not complete without them and rightly so. Cherries are not only low in kilojoules and a good source of vitamin C, but they are also a source of pectin, which is type of soluble fibre which can help lower cholesterol.
Custard. In a trifle, poured over pudding or eaten as is; this childhood favourite can actually be quite nutritious. Homemade custard usually contains egg yolk, which is a source of many micronutrients including vitamins A,D,E,K, B vitamins and iron. Made with milk, 1 cup of custard can be considered a serving of calcium for the day too!.
Part of a healthy diet is having a healthy relationship with food. So eat, drink, enjoy mindfully and pass the fruit cake.
References [ + ]
|1.||⇪||Chiva-Blanch G, Arranz S, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Estruch R. Effects of Wine, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Evidences from Human Studies. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2013 May , 48 (3): 270-277|
|2.||⇪||Vinson JA, Teufel K, Wu N. Red wine, dealcoholised red wine and especially grape juice inhibit atherosclerosis in a hamster model. Atherosclerosis. 2001 May 156 (1):67-72|