How to Ensure You Serve Up a Healthy Christmas Dinner

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

How to Ensure You Serve Up a Healthy Christmas Dinner


Byline: By Madeleine Brindley Western Mail

Five-a-day vegetable targets christmas is a great time to hit those five-a-day fruit and vegetable targets, but just what vegetables come in as the 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. Coming in a close second was the humble potato with 16%, followed by the carrot with 12% of the votes.

Unsurprisingly to many, Brussels sprouts are the least favourite vegetable, with 17% of adults surveyed in Wales. And 11% also said that they only ate Brussels sprouts at Christmas, even though it is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

All vegetables are good sources of important vitamins and minerals, with many of them 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.

As vegetables are also low in fat (only if you avoid the butter glaze or creamy sauce) and are a good source of fibre, by eating lots of them, you'll feel fuller for longer.

Remember when cooking vegetables, steam them to preserve more vitamins.

LEFTOVERS

More than eight out of 10 people in Wales said that one of their favourite parts of Christmas was tucking into the traditional turkey and trimmings and a further 13% said that knowing they could eat lots of food was their favourite part of the festive season.

With 39% of people 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 Standards 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;

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 way through;

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. It is fine to leave whole lettuces, tomatoes etc at room temperature as problems only arise once the salad ingredients are chopped up and mixed together.

ROAST RAGE

For many, particularly those who don't cook often, Christmas can be a real challenge. FSA research showed that 11% of people in Wales 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 a further 34% said they either plan it on the day or don't plan it at all.

A quarter of those questioned said that doing the Christmas grocery shopping was their least favourite part of preparing the Christmas meal. …

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