So, forgetting the festive Christmas traditions of exchanging presents, decorating a tree and spending time with friends and family, we all know that one huge part of the festive season is the food. Turkey, mince pies, Christmas pudding and a couple (a lot) of glasses of mulled wine are all readily available, making it even more difficult to monitor your waistband. But whilst eating as much as you can before falling asleep in the afternoon may be a traditional Christmas day for many, it is possible to maintain a (semi-) healthy diet over the Christmas season.
As you may not be hosting the big day, it can be tricky to avoid the goose-fat roasties and the Christmas pudding with cream. So, in the days following the 25th, there are plenty of ways to use your leftovers to make healthy, nutritious meals to get back on track in the lead up to New Year. But there’s no reason why you can’t make the most of the seasonal treats on offer. With these tasty nutritious ingredients, even sweet treats can be healthy.
Red cabbage with apple & walnuts
Red cabbage is a Christmas staple and is often left behind on dinner plates, perhaps due to the bright purple colour or the tangy spicy flavour. However, it can be a delicious boxing day accompaniment. This particular recipe also offers a great vitamin boost. The apple and cabbage offer vitamin C for a healthy immune system (great for battling winter colds) and the walnuts contain vitamin E to promote healthy eyesight.
1 red cabbage
1 cooking apple (grated)
100ml cider vinegar
25g light muscovado sugar
Generous handful of walnuts
Simply cook the cabbage with the apple, butter and cloves until beginning to wilt. Then add the vinegar and continue to stir. Sprinkle with the walnuts to serve.
Tasty Spicy Turkey soup
You may have memories from childhood of being served turkey soup for what seemed like months after Christmas. This soup is warm and hearty, perfect for serving en masse to your friends and family on boxing day. In terms of nutrition, the red pepper offers a good helping of vitamin A for healthy eyesight, the turkey is a lean meat rich in iron to promote circulation and the chickpeas are great for calcium and iron.
1 large white onion
1 de-seeded red pepper
2 tsp coriander
Half a teaspoon of dried chilli
1 1/2 litres of turkey stock
250g turkey meat
3tbsp rice (long grain will work fine)
1 can of drained chickpeas
Begin by simply stirring the herbs and spices in a hot pan with the pepper and rice. Then add the stock, turkey and chickpeas and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for around 10 minutes.
Parsnip & Chickpea Salad
Bought too many parsnips for Christmas? No problem. This tasty and nutritious recipe makes a perfect lunch or light supper in the days following Christmas. The parsnips offer a good helping of vitamin C for a healthy immune system. The chestnuts are high in magnesium and vitamin C (100g provides 44% of your RDA!). The watercress and spinach are rich in iron and vitamin A (100g provides 187% of your RDA of vitamin A). These dark green veg are fantastic superfoods when it comes to eyesight, helping to keep the eyes healthy and your vision protected.
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts
A couple of sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp honeyGenerous handful of watercress and spinach
Roast the parsnips in a hot oven for 20 minutes with a couple of tsp of olive oil. Then, toss in the chestnuts, honey and rosemary and return to the oven for a final 20 minutes. Plate up on the salad leaves, using the juices as dressing.
Try these nutritious festive recipes as great ways to use up your Christmas leftovers, whilst beginning your post-Christmas detox.
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Victoria researches nutrition for healthy vision. She has put together these recipe ideas for a reading glasses website, Direct Sight.