With nearly 60 years at Select Stores in Dalkey looking after customers with healthier ingredient alternatives, to make an even more sumptuous Christmas dinner handed down through generations, here’s Oliver McCabe’s top tips you must try, for a less fattening, more effective and even more delicious Christmas dinner.
Let’s start with piece de resistance, the Christmas Turkey
- Use Irish rapeseed oil for basting and greasing when preparing. It doesn’t turn into a nasty trans-fat at high temperature over a long period of time so best it’s for you.
- Season the turkey generously with Himalayan fine rock salt and ground black pepper inside and out.
- Halve an organic un-waxed orange and lemon and put them in the cavity (squeezing the fruit as it goes in) with the thyme and bay leaves. Best is to use organic lemons and oranges as they’re un-waxed with no preservatives and are even juicier than conventional.
- Tie the turkey legs together to give the bird a good body. Use Himalayan Rock salt to lower your sodium content without the loss of flavour, Or, instead of using so much salt.
- Try using shallots or red onions for a naturally sweeter stuffing mix.
- Sauté the onions in rapeseed oil. Stir in nuts, chopped apricots, polenta or cooked quinoa, parsley, organic egg and lemon zest for the yummiest vegetarian way to stuff the turkey.
- You can make the stuffing with quinoa or polenta to avoid wheat & gluten.
If you’re making a quick easy Christmas gravy use yeast free, salt free chicken stock cubes with lots of minced fresh herbs, organic white wine, potato flour instead of white flour, rapeseed oil and minced garlic.
Juice your own apples to create your own natural juice instead of sugar laden processed apple juice to soak ham in for a more succulent bacon.
- Drizzle Pomegranate molasses with maple syrup over chopped Parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potato and scatter with rapeseed oil, rosemary and sea salt for rich roast vegetables.
- Boil shredded red cabbage, onions, apples and beetroot together with the Christmas spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise for the perfect aromatic red cabbage with lots of B vitamins to curb hangovers.
- Add a golden less fattening glow to your roast potatoes by par-boiling them first with a touch of turmeric and toss with Ghee vegetable fat with garlic and paprika.
- Mash Brussels sprouts to a chunky texture with a potato masher then top with toasted cooked chopped chestnuts and nutmeg for an exciting sprout side dish.
- Add pomegranate molasses & all spice to your cranberry sauce to give it that Bethlehem kick.
- Break up any leftover Christmas cake, pudding or mince pies and add in a bowl with coconut dairy free ice cream, chopped banana and flaked nuts for a yummy post-Christmas munch.
- Throw any leftover cheese into tarts or pies with onions and leftover boiled ham or turkey.
- Use all your leftover herbs and spices in stir-fry’s, curries, tagines and salad dressings.
- Leftover smoked salmon is ideal for hangover breakfasts such as omelettes, frittatas, tortillas or heaped eggs benedict.
- Love to use leftover turkey or ham in lunchtime hot burritos with chilli beans and guacamole.
- Stir through leftover cranberry sauce, dried cranberries and nuts, to bake decadent post-Christmas chocolate brownies.
- Scatter leftover sliced Brussels sprouts, bacon and cheese as a topping for pizzas or crostini.
- Always try and take a few drops of the herbal remedy milk thistle with a glass of water before you drink copious amounts of alcohol to support liver function. And if you can think of it a vitamin B before you hit the sack with more water will help with the hangover in the morning as it’s the B vitamins that are depleted with alcohol which give you the headache along with hydration. So always have a bottle of water beside the bed.
Exercising helps relieve any Christmas stress and prevents weight gain. Sensibly increasing daily exercise during the Christmas break can also help reduce the urge to overeat.
Try and stay relaxed because stress can increase cortisol (the stress hormone) level which causes an unnecessary increase in blood sugar levels. So, no drama! Go for lots of festive walks, so the insulin hormone can do the job of lowering the post-Christmas high sugar surge in your blood.
We hope these simple tips help you enjoy staying a little healthier this Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year!
Oliver McCabe owner, whole food Chef and nutrition Select Stores Dalkey, his newest book Fuel Food Cookbook will be out January 13th and is available for pre-order www.selectstores.ie
BY Oliver McCabe