Healthy Roast for the cold weather

We all love a Roast dinner but hate the stodge, full and bloated feeling after, so try a healthier style roast with these handy tips.

At least a third of your meal should be fruit and vegetables. Spring cabbage, leeks, carrots, sprouting broccoli and peas.

Avoid cooking or serving vegetables with butter. The lowest-fat cooking options are steaming or boiling (without salt), but if you want to roast, use just a little olive oil and season with rosemary, garlic or mixed spices instead of salt.

Use reduced-salt versions of instant gravy granules, or homemade or reduced-salt stock cubes. Compare labels when buying stock cubes or granules, as they vary widely. Homemade is usually best.

If you are adding meat juices to gravy, drain into a jug and leave for a few minutes to allow the fat to rise to the surface, then skim it off before adding the rest to the gravy.

Roast potatoes are a popular part of a roast dinner. Cut potatoes into big chunks and parboil before roasting so they absorb less fat. Instead of cooking with lard, which is high in saturated fat, lightly brush potatoes with an unsaturated fat like rapeseed or olive oil.

Flavour spuds with herbs or spices – try paprika if you’re having beef, rosemary with lamb, and sage or cumin with chicken.

To cut calories further, serve boiled potatoes or a mix of roast and boiled. Many people like mashed potato, too. Keep the skins on for extra fibre and use low-fat milk instead of butter to cut total fat by 7.1g and saturated fat by 4.7g per 175g portion.

In general, a third of your food should be starchy carbohydrates like potatoes or wholegrain varieties of rice, pasta or bread.

Traditional trimmings like Yorkshire puddings, bread sauce and stuffing add to the salt, fat and calories in your meal, so go easy on these or skip them altogether.

Making your own helps reduce fat and salt. Make meat-free stuffing (try breadcrumbs, chestnuts and onions as the basis) or use lean mince instead of sausage to keep saturated fat and salt down. Add thyme or sage and lemon juice for extra flavour without salt.

Make your own Yorkshire puddings with eggs, flour and skimmed milk to save at least 1g of saturated fat per 20g of Yorkshire pudding versus buying them ready-made.

Bread sauce can be high in fat and salt. Make it yourself using semi-skimmed instead of whole milk, skip the butter and use bay leaves and nutmeg for flavour instead of salt. Most importantly have a glass of water to wash down yoour meal, avoid fizzy drinks.

A good tip is to go for a walk after eating rather than slump in the chair and sleep! Make Sundays a more active day than a rest day..... after all it is the 1st day of the week not the last.

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