Turkey is a fantastic source of protein and contains very little fat, which means there are fewer calories in a 100g serving of turkey than red meat alternatives. Turkey breast meat is leaner than the leg meat, however, compare this to a shoulder of lamb which is lower in protein and contains more fat and calories per 100g. Turkey is also a great source of vitamin B12 which plays an important role in the nervous system and selenium which is a key antioxidant.
You either love them or hate them, but just 80g of Brussels sprouts provide a fantastic source of fibre, folate and also contains a whopping 120% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C (even when boiled)! Other than the immune benefits to reaching your vitamin C recommendations, the fibre is great for digestive health and helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer (which may or may not lead to fewer chocolates).
Cranberries are often consumed at Christmas in the form of cranberry sauce or a juice topping up a cocktail but they are also a great source of vitamin C. They also have a medley of other beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, K and E. Naturally, cranberries are quite tart so you will often see sugar on the ingredients list of sauces and even dried cranberries, so if you are concerned about your calorie intake try making your own cranberry recipes.
Walnuts (other nuts too)
Walnuts are one of the many nuts traditionally snacked on by the whole family. Nuts and seeds in general are a great source of protein, fibre and unsaturated fat making them great for gut and cardiovascular health as well as satisfying any cravings between meals. A 25g serving of walnuts also provides you with about 13% of your magnesium and 17% of your phosphorus requirements which are both needed for optimal bone health.
When enjoyed in moderation there are benefits to consuming some of your favourite cheeses over the festive season. Cheese is high in calcium and phosphorus which are both great for bone health. Cheese is also a good source of vitamin B12 which could be beneficial to those who don’t eat meat. Nutrition content does vary depending on the type of cheese with mozzarella being lower in calories and fat than both Brie and Cheddar respectively. Sadly though, most cheese portion sizes are only around 30g!
Cinnamon is not only a flavour powerhouse but a nutrient powerhouse too. High in antioxidants, it has also been linked to anti-inflammatory functions, improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control and cardiovascular benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease. Research is still ongoing to determine how much cinnamon is required to achieve these health benefits but for something that tastes so much like Christmas, it would be a shame not to include it in our diets over the coming month.
If you would like to try a lighter way of using up your turkey leftovers, I highly recommend trying a warm festive salad:
Lots of greenery (blanched kale is perfect for this)
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Cranberries or pomegranate
Other leftover vegetables such as butternut squash, roast potatoes and green beans
Sprinkling of nuts
Crumbling of cheese
Just prepare the green leafy vegetables to fill a large bowl and then fill it to the brim with all of your festive leftovers.
Most important of all, it's all about balance. Make sure you enjoy all your Christmas treats without any guilt but be sure to fill up on the nutritious food as well. Merry Christmas!