1. 5-A-Day Veg Targets...Easy Peasy!
Christmas is a great time to hit those five a day fruit and veg
targets but just what veg comes in as cream of the crop? A survey by
the FSA revealed that broccoli came out tops with 17% of adults
surveyed, picking it as their favourite vegetable with potatoes
coming in second with 10% and the flame coloured carrot receiving 8%
of the votes.
Not flavour of the seasonal month is the Brussels sprout, which was
chosen as the least favourite vegetable by 21% of adults surveyed in
East England. Furthermore, 15% also said that they only ate Brussels
sprouts at Christmas! But don't be so quick to pass the plate on the
humble sprout as it's a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Don't just stick to your favourite vegetables this Christmas as
remember ALL vegetables are good sources of important vitamins and
minerals, with many of them being high in vitamin C, B vitamins such
as folate, carotenes (which are turned into vitamin A in the body),
potassium and magnesium. Eating a variety of at least five portions
of fruit and vegetables a day helps keep us healthy and may help
protect us from heart disease and some cancers.
And there's more good news, as veggies are low in fat and are a good
source of fibre (which helps make meals more filling), by eating
lots of them, you'll feel fuller for longer. Remember when cooking
veggies, steam them to preserve more vitamins.
2. Food Glorious Food.....But What About Leftovers?
Seems like people in East England love their food as a massive 79%
of people surveyed said that one of their favourite aspects of
Christmas was tucking into the traditional turkey and trimmings and
a further 11% said that knowing they could eat lots of food was
their favourite part of Christmas.
With 46% of people in East England surveyed saying that they have
experienced cooking too much food for the Christmas meal, what is
the best way to deal with those luscious leftovers? The Food
Standard's Agency's storage tips will help ensure you enjoy safe
Christmas eating this year.
- Always place cooked meat and poultry in the fridge to avoid any
potential food poisoning bacteria growing and multiplying!
- If you're cooking turkey or a joint of meat for Christmas lunch
and there are leftovers, remove all the meat from the bone, put in a
covered container, leave to cool (for no more than two hours), store
in the fridge and use within 48 hours. Alternatively, you could
freeze the left-over meat
- If you are using leftover meat to make a pie or a curry, only
reheat the meat once and ensure that the dish is piping hot all the
- Prepared salads and leftover vegetables should also be stored in
the fridge, do not leave them standing around at room temperature
and keep them away from any raw foods to prevent potential cross
contamination. However it's fine to leave whole lettuces, tomatoes
etc at room temperature as problems only arise once the salad
ingredients are chopped up and mixed together
Running Around Like a Headless Turkey?!...
For many, particularly those who don't cook often, Christmas can be
a real challenge. With so many things to think about in the run up
to the big day, it's no wonder that it's not just the vegetables
that get steamed up!
Agency research showed that 17% of those surveyed in East England
who cook the Christmas meal said that they only started planning
what they were going to cook for Christmas dinner a few days
beforehand and surprisingly a further 30% said they either plan it
on the day or don't plan it at all! 39% of those polled stated that
doing the Christmas grocery shopping was their least favourite part
of preparing the Christmas meal.
Cooking the traditional turkey can be a real labour of love and as
the turkey usually sets the timings for cooking all the accompanying
dishes, it's important to get it right! Agency findings revealed
that 36% said that the stress involved with cooking and planning the
Christmas meal including getting the timings exactly right for the
food was what they least enjoyed about cooking Christmas dinner.
Furthermore 57% of those surveyed in East England who cook the
Christmas meal, said they will spend between 2 and 4 hours preparing
and cooking Christmas dinner, and a further 21% said they will spend
more than 5 hours!
We all know someone who has spent hours slaving away in the kitchen
only to end up with an undercooked, overcooked or burnt bird - this
year don't make the same mistakes as help is at hand - log on to
http://www.eatwell.gov.uk for the FSA's guide to defrosting and
cooking the perfect turkey.
3. Festive Feasting the Healthy Way
Lay off the Salt
Agency research revealed that 28% surveyed who cook the Christmas
meal said they will be cooking Christmas dinner taking into
consideration various conditions such as allergies, food
intolerances, diabetes and high blood pressure.
With high blood pressure contributing to more than 170,000 deaths in
England alone every year1, one of the key things to watch out for is
your salt intake. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure
and high blood pressure triples the risk of heart disease and
stroke. So keep an eye on the amount of salt you're consuming and
keep your heart healthy not just at Christmas but all year round!
For tips and advice on how to cut down on salt in your daily diet
visit the Agency's website:
4. A Global Flavour to Christmas
It would seem that East Englanders love the idea of a global
Christmas cuisine as 60% of people surveyed who cook the Christmas
meal, say that they would consider cooking a non British menu for
their Christmas dinner.... the top cuisine of choice was Chinese
with 36% of the votes, beating Italian (28%) and Indian (12%) into
second and third place respectively.
For an alternative Christmas there are lots of healthy recipe
options - fire up the wok for a Chinese turkey stir fry or turn up
the heat in the kitchen and make a home-made Indian turkey curry
packed with veggies.
Remember some ingredients such as soy sauce and ready made sauces
can be high in salt so chooses low or reduced salt options and
instead enhance the flavour by adding ginger, garlic, chilli, or
5. Bring on the Festive Veggies!
Vegetarians will also be enjoying a bountiful feast this Christmas
with 21% of people in East England saying that they will be cooking
a vegetarian option as part of their festive feast this year. 53% of
these votes will be cooking up a nut roast for the vegetarians
around the table, while 21% will opt for a vegetable based dish.
If you're vegetarian ensuring that you get enough protein or iron is
important. So when sitting down to the Christmas meal, include
protein rich foods such as pulses, nuts and seeds, eggs, soya
products, milk and dairy products, as well as green vegetables, such
as cabbage and broccoli.
For lots more Christmas tips and advice and other health and
nutrition matters visit the FSA's websites: