It’s that time of the year – Black Friday has passed, December is here and no matter how much we might like to avoid it, Christmas is right around the corner. For most this is the best time in the whole year but if you are dedicated to the gym then the holdiday menus can offer a wide range of problems. Not all the festive foods are enemies and some traditional favourites can serve as excellent additions to our nutrition:
Where else to start than with the nation’s most popular festive bird. It seems more of us are eating turkey throughout the entire year but if you still follow the tradition of only indulging around Christmas time then this poultry could be just what you are looking for. I’ll admit that turkey isn’t my favourite meat but it has plenty of nutritional benefits. It’s difficult to find a meat that has more protein than turkey, with the white meat containing around 28 grams of protein per 100 grams. So don’t be afraid to go back for seconds when it comes to this years bird!
If you really cannot stand turkey this year then maybe try some game birds. Gone are the days where you would have to pluck and prepare the thing yourself, now you can get pigeon, pheasant and loads of other game birds prepared for you. And you have always got the option of the roast inside a roast with game birds too! Just be aware that you will probably be sacrificing some protein and taking on a bit more fat.
Fish – Mackerel & Salmon
Both these fish are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for you especially when you are training. They don’t have the same amount of protein as turkey but their relatively high levels make them well worth incorporating into the festive period somewhere. Just be careful with mackerel though because some food authorities don’t recommend children or pregnant women to eat it due to its levels of mercury.
Nuts – Walnuts & Chestnuts
Nuts are one of those festive foods that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without and walnuts and chestnuts are two that are closely associated with the holidays. Walnuts can be eaten raw or toasted and contain around 15% protein as well as essential amino acids. Not to mention they are a great source of unsaturated fats and even dietary fibre in lesser amounts.
Chestnuts on the other hand have far less fat and as a result far less calories. Chestnuts can be a good source of carbohydrates too with similar levels to rice and wheat. They’re also one of the only nuts to contain vitamin c, but this will decrease by about 40% if you choose to roast them on an open fire.
This traditional stocking filler isn’t one to just be discarded. They are packed full of vitamin c and make up on of your 5-a-day. Of course, any fruits are good but if you like festive tradition then an orange can be the perfect snack if you get peckish.
I decided to save talking about these until last because so many of you wont care what nutritional benefits they offer because you just despise them. Well if not here are a few of the things that they offer. They have high values of vitamin c, which is great for your immune system, and equally as high values of vitamin k, known for its ability to help clot the blood. So overall they might just be worth it even if you aren’t madly keen on them.