'Tis the season to be good to yourself
Far too often Christmas is laden with stress, guilt and over- indulgence. In amongst the expensive gifts, rich foods and the media projection that everyone is supposed to have a ‘perfect Christmas’ we often lose the connection to the traditional concept of the season.
Christmas is a time to relax and celebrate with loved ones, eating foods that replenish both the body and soul, and provide those vital nutrients for the body’s needs at this time of year. Here’s how nourishing some of our festive favourites can be and our tips for leftovers...
Spoon on the Cranberry sauce
Traditional cranberry sauce is rich in anthocyanidins powerful antioxidants with a known ability to fight off infections (especially in the urinary tract). They're also rich in vitamin C, which helps support the immune system and circulation.
Cranberry tip: Stay away from the naughty sugar-laden versions that strip the food of its benefits (see our recipe for a nutritiously rich cranberry sauce)
Check the Turkey
Turkey is low in fat, has lots of protein, and is a great source of iron, particularly the dark meat!
This seasonal favourite is a favoured source of L-tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, the main brain chemical that gives us the ‘feel good’ factor during the darker months. It is also an excellent source of selenium, needed by the thyroid gland to support the body’s use of food for energy.
Turkey tip: If you have a large bird, make sure it's properly cooked. To check, cut a few slits around the breast, close to where the leg joins the body, and press above the slits with the flat of a knife. If the turkey is cooked, the juices will be clear. If there's the faintest tinge of pink, put it back in the oven and test again in 20 minutes.
The same applies to sausages wrapped in bacon and other meat accompaniments. All should be steaming hot out of the oven, with no trace of pink in the middle.
Eat up your Brussel sprouts
Too often left to the side of the plate, but just 10 of these nutritional power bombs will give you over 140% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C!
Research has shown that they have significant cancer-preventative properties. Steamed Brussel sprouts have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by supporting gall bladder function and digestion.
Get nutty about Walnuts
Freshly cracked walnuts by an open fire are one of the joys of December and research shows that there are a great deal of health benefits to be achieved from them too. They are rich in vitamin E and the antioxidant group ‘phenols’, both of which support cardiovascular health. We also recommend them regularly to clients to stop those blood sugar dips that can lead to sugar cravings or energy lows. More recently, walnuts have been researched for their ability to promote the production of melatonin, the brain chemical that induces sleep. The best benefits come from freshly cracking them and eating all but the shell. Try our delicious recipe for walnut spread this winter!
The Boxing day fridge raid
Christmas and leftovers go together like roast potatoes and gravy, we just need to be mindful about their hygiene.
Try to cover leftovers as soon as they've cooled and refrigerate or freeze immediately.
Eat refrigerated leftovers within 24 hours.
Never re-heat food more than once.
Don't re-freeze anything that has already been defrosted.