Hidden Health Benefits of your Christmas Dinner

Expert Blog

Advice from Bristol Nutritionist & Dietitian

christmas dinner healthDid you know that we consume an average 6000kcal on Christmas day?! That’s nearly triple what is advised for the average person in a day and would take about 12 hours of jogging to burn it off!

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Although the traditional Christmas dinner gets a bad rep, it’s actually a pretty healthy meal if we strip it back to the bare bones – we just need to be careful of how much we have…

  • Vitamin-rich brussels sprouts – The rumours are true; they are good for you! A portion contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin K and plenty of B vitamins such as folate; key players in energy production. Something you’ll be thankful for when everyone else hits their mid-afternoon slump! Steam them to retain as many nutrients as possible.
  • Protein packed turkey – A great source of lean protein (particularly the white meat such as turkey breast). Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, important for serotonin production (the ‘happy’ hormone).
  • Nutritious nut roast – For the plant-based eaters amongst us; you’ll benefit from the healthy mono-unsaturated fats from nuts. Try using a variety of nuts and seeds which all provide a slightly different nutrient profile. Nuts are also a great source of vitamin E which you need for healthy skin.
  • Potatoes for fibre – Potatoes are a good source of fibre, potassium and starchy carbohydrate. However most of the fibre can be found in the skin, which we tend to peel off our roasties. Go careful with portion sizes of your roasties, too as the lashings of fat added turn them into a very high saturated fat, energy dense (but delicious) treat.
  • Parsnips please – Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that parsnips can pack a healthy punch as a great source of fibre, potassium and also vitamin C. Be mindful about adding honey or parmesan which add sugar and saturated fat to an already hearty meal. Try using herbs and spices instead which can be used without limit!
  • Red wine remedy – Red wine is rich in anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. But don’t get too excited; it’s also high in sugar and calories which are stacking up alongside an already heavy day.
  • Vitamin C for cranberries – Their bright red colour also comes from anthocyanins. Plus, cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. You’re more likely to feel the benefit from cranberry juice or dried cranberries, rather than cranberry sauce, though.

So, this Christmas; why not try to fill up with the nourishing stuff, have less off the naughty stuff, and give yourself the gift of a guilt-free(-ish) Christmas.

Meet Our Expert Blogger

Sophie Claessens


Sophie Claessens Nutrition

Blog written by experienced Nutritionist and Dietitian, Sophie Claessens. Sophie is now taking appointments at The May Wellness Centre based in Redland, Bristol.

Services offered include:

  • Weight loss and weight management
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  • Mental health nutrition
  • IBS, gut health, low FODMAP diet

Call us on: 0117 924 4592 to book an appointment now to kick-start your healthy, happy 2019.

Stay tuned for Sophie’s Top Ten bloat-busting tips for a happy, healthy 2019.

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