Cooking for Christmas while still following healthy eating guidelines after weight loss surgery, is still achievable.
This is a good opportunity to make Christmas a little bit different this year; a lot healthier this year. There is no need to feel like you’re missing out either; all you have to do is make a few minor swaps. Whenever you have control over the food on offer, always opt for the healthier alternatives.
You can still enjoy your favourite treats, after all it is Christmas, but make sure it is in moderation. Some ways to reduce the fat content and increase the nutritional value are listed below.
- Turkey is an excellent source of protein and without the skin; it is very low in fat. For a healthier cooking method, prick the skin to allow the fat to drain out while roasting on a rack. Take care though with the added trimmings such as gravy, stuffing and sauces.
- To reduce the fat in the gravy without compromising the taste, pour the turkey juices into a jug and allow settling. Once the fat has risen to the top, carefully spoon out the fat and use the remaining juices for the gravy.
- Choose a fruit, vegetable or chestnut based stuffing instead of sausage meat. This will reduce the total fat as well as saturated fat intake. Cook the stuffing separately to avoid soaking up the fats and use wholegrain breads for an increased fibre intake.
- Serve plenty of steamed or grilled low starch vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, snow peas and brussels sprouts. They make a light addition to the roast, just make them interesting. Try wrapping grilled asparagus with a thin strip of prosciutto or tossing green beans in fat-free vinaigrette with some wholegrain mustard and chives.
- Bake starchy vegetables in a separate pan to the roast to avoid soaking up the fats and serve in small portions. Opt for baby potatoes and sweet potatoes for a lower GI alternative. Offer a variety of salads without loads of oily dressings or mayonnaise.
- Instead of the traditional prawn cocktail as a starter, try barbequing some prawns or even try baking or barbequing a whole fish. For an easy and delicious recipe, wrap a whole fish such as snapper in foil, stuff the cavities with thin sliced garlic and lemon, and drizzle the fish with the juice of lemon, balsamic vinegar and a little bit of olive oil.
- Enjoy a small portion of your favourite desert but ensure to serve some fruit as well. Make the most of the fruit in season such as peaches, cherries and apricots. All delicious on their own, so there’s no need to drown them in cream and ice cream. For a creative touch, try stone fruit baked or barbecued, with a berry sauce.
The team at Upper GI surgery wish you all a healthy and a happy festive season. Enjoy Christmas and we’ll see you all in 2012.