Why the Christmas Dinner can be a super healthy meal and the best way to cook it
17/12/2021 - Natasha is Wide Eyed
What do you think of Christmas dinner? Is it a belly buster, a blow out or just a vehicle to take you back to the mince pies and Quality Street before snoozing after the Queen’s speech?
From a nutritional point of view the traditional turkey dinner is one of the healthiest you can have. Provided you do it right of course.
As this is a celebratory meal, it is important to buy the best quality bird you can afford. A factory farmed bird will not provide the nutrients you get in a free-range bird, it may contain antibiotics that impact your gut and because it hasn’t seen the sun it won’t have a full complement of vitamins and minerals that your body requires. Yes, free-range will be more expensive, but you get what you pay for, and the taste and nutrition factor are worth the extra. Most of the vitamins and minerals are to be found in the leg meat. Turkey is rich in B vitamins, selenium and zinc which enhance Christmas cheer as these are all so good for your brain.
Then you have the trimmings. If you use good quality gluten free sausage meat with plenty of seasoning, dried sage, and lightly fried onions cooked into the neck it will add to the flavour of the meat.
The sprouts are high in vitamins C and K plus the minerals magnesium and phosphorous. If you add butter to them the fat will mean that you will access these nutrients.
Most of the time I don’t eat potatoes, as I tend to steer clear of anything that raises my insulin levels in response to the high starch content, but I do partake of a crispy roast spud with Christmas dinner. My top tip is to definitely to cook them in goose fat. Not only do they taste sensational the fat is particularly good for us. Whatever you do, don’t cook them in sunflower or rapeseed oil. Your brain does not want these types of oils!
Use the neck and giblets that come with the turkey to make a stock (you can do it the day before) and make your gravy from it. Pour in some of the rested cooking juices and you will have the best tasting gravy you’ve ever eaten.
When you cook you turkey, make sure it is at room temperature before it goes in the oven. I spread room temperature butter over the breast and legs, season and layer unsmoked bacon across the breast and legs. I wrap completely in foil and cook following Delia Smiths cooking guide. It is uncovered, bacon removed, basted and cooked at a higher temperature for the last 30 minutes. The absolute key to getting the most tender bird is to let it rest for 2 hours or more (wrap the foil around it during this time). The longest I let it rest for was 4 hours and it was still hot! Yes, it means putting it on to cook at the crack of dawn if you want to eat at lunchtime, but it is totally worth it.
And then you also get the liquid gold that is the turkey dripping. If you have never tried it, you have been missing out. Like garlic bread? Well melted dripping takes it to the next level. As I advocate low carb cookery for optimum health, I toast low carb rolls and top with turkey dripping. It is literally a highlight of Christmas. And the nutritional value from the collagen rich jelly is just an added bonus.
Using the leftover turkey, you can make anything from curry to pie fillings (no need for heavy pastry) and remember to make a stew with the carcass to get every last possible nutrient from your investment.
However you choose to celebrate this year, treat yourself to food that does you good and makes you feel the best you possible can.
If you’re looking for a healthy fresh start in 2022 check out my website natashaiswideeyed.com for FREE recipes, videos and articles. Or to book personal support for better health email [email protected]. Treat yourself to a bigger slice of life.
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