Healthy Christmas dinner swaps: How to cut calories without missing out this year

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Sticking to a healthy diet plan can be tricky over the Christmas period. However these food swaps can help reduce how many calories you put away this December.

Many people will associate the Christmas period with chocolates, mince pies and mulled wine.

While Christmas foods are delicious, they are not always the best for the waistline.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, David Wiener, training specialist at AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics, revealed why slimmers don’t need to miss out.

Here are his top swaps to make Christmas dinner healthier this year.

Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes

Potatoes as a staple on the Christmas dinner plate so swapping them for sweet potatoes could be a healthier way to enjoy them.

David said: “Sweet Potatoes are high in antioxidants and they are one of the most nutritious vegetables.

“In comparison to the regular white potato, sweet potatoes are full of calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C, as well as fibre, making them a healthier alternative to roast potatoes. They’re also incredibly versatile to cook with.”

Swap gravy for fruity sauces

Cut back on unnecessary sugar by making homemade fruit sauces, the expert suggested.

He said: “Swapping gravy for homemade sauces such as apple or cranberry can be more beneficial for you and your gut as they contain less processed sugars, unnatural colours and additives.”

Swap brown turkey meat for white meat

Turkey is a staple on December 25 and those watching their weight do not need to skip this.

“The healthier option and low-fat alternative to having brown turkey meat is eating the turkey breast,” David continued.

“This is a much leaner section of the turkey and can help towards your healthy diet. This is because the other parts of the turkey usually contain higher levels of saturated fat.”

Swap pigs in blankets for asparagus

The expert added: “Pigs in blankets are a traditional Christmas dish. However, it is not the healthiest choice.

“Pigs in blankets are not only high in fat due to their high pork content, but they are also cooked or fried in oil making their fat content even higher. A great alternative to this dish is asparagus wrapped in parma ham.

“The fibre content of the asparagus supports healthy digestion and the lower fat content of parma ham means it’s a much healthier alternative.”

Swap vegetable oil for healthier oil options

Using a healthy oil when cooking can be an easy way to trim the calories of the meal.

A great alternative for vegetable oil is olive oil,” David explained.

“Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils as it is made from the root of an olive tree and contains healthy fatty acids.

“Another alternative is avocado oil, which is made from the stone of the avocado fruit and is a healthier and tastier option to vegetable oil.

“Lastly, coconut oil is from the content of the coconuts and is also another alternative for vegetable oil that can be used for frying and baking.”

Swap milk or white chocolate treats for dark chocolate

Dieters don’t need to miss out on dessert either and can make lower calorie chocolate swaps instead.

The expert said: “If you love chocolate, why don’t you substitute milk or white chocolate for dark chocolate, as this is a much healthier option. Dark chocolate contains 35 percent of cocoa whereas milk chocolate only contains 10 percent of cocoa.

“Dark chocolate also has more nutrients, dietary fibre, iron and potassium than milk chocolate. But as always, eat chocolate in moderation.”

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