Christmas - the protein holiday

Bit of an odd post title, but an interesting one. I was speaking with a personal trainer friend of mine, and he said to me "I love xmas mate, it's the protein holiday!". I had to ask, "protein holiday?", and he responded with "yep! all the chicken, turkey, real ham joints, sausages, some people have duck too! it's the holiday filled with protein!". When he put it like that, I had to agree. 



The majority of people's xmas dinners will be unhealthy, and I can completely see why. Unless you're into health, nutrition, fitness and cooking, you're not going to worry about making a healthy xmas dinner. It's easier to buy the cheaper meats, fatty gravy, calorie packed stuffing and so on. But you can make a healthy xmas dinner. There's not that much more time and effort that you have to spend to make a traditionally unhealthy dinner, healthy.

First thing's first, get the good quality meats. Whether you're buying turkey, chicken, duck, pork, lamb, sausages, ham joints, go for the better quality - will have more protein and a lot less fat. Next is the veg. You can't go too wrong with vegetables to be honest, the cheaper ones just tend to taste a bit different, and can be grown a little unhealthily. But even the cheapest veg is better than no veg. Vegetables are great for 'packing out' a meal - adds bulk to the meal, makes you feel fuller and doesn't contain many calories. With the gravy, most people will go for a cheap ready made or gravy granules. They will be less healthy, but obviously it's very quick and convenient. There are many recipes out there to make your own, and a lot of them are healthy recipes. The one my family have is from Jamie Oliver, takes a little time to prepare but it is extremely nice and is healthier than the traditional gravy.

Now, it's not just the xmas dinner itself that can have a good amount of protein, it's the snacks too. Another xmas favourite is salmon (not fillets or tin salmon). A great snack to have is salmon and cheese in a bagel or sandwich. Salmon is amazingly healthy and tastes great. You don't just have to have the unhealthy pastry foods, which don't tend to fill you up that much, which means you eat more. The more protein you eat, but quicker you'll get full up - meaning you eat less but are still full.

I guess it comes down to the individual though, do you want to have a healthier xmas? do you want to spend that little bit more time and effort? do you want to hit the new year in a slightly healthier position? Just because you make a xmas dinner more healthy, doesn't mean it's any less nice. My xmas day food is incredible and the fact it's healthier is great bonus!

Have a wonderful Xmas, enjoy yourselves but don't go overboard! Keep your fitness goals in mind!

Lee Gregory Fitness 

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