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Leftovers can be good for you

Boxing day has arrived and we can all look forward to eating leftovers for the next few days. Take heart though – Christmas fare, in moderation, can actually be good for you, even if aren’t really looking forward to curried turkey salad and refried sprouts.

Brussels sprouts

These contain more than your daily requirement of vitamin K and plenty of B vitamins such as folate which is important in energy production. However, boiled and fried, they will lose many of them nutrients. If you have some left over which haven’t yet been cooked, steam them to retain as many nutrients as possible.


A great source of lean protein (particularly the white meat, so go for the breast and steer clear of the fatty skin). Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, important for serotonin production (the ‘happy’ hormone).


Potatoes themselves are a good source of potassium and starchy carbohydrate. However they are best boiled in their skins. The downside of roast potatoes is that we often remove the skins (where the fibre is). Plus lots of calories are added when cooked in fat (not to mention the saturated fat in goose fat).


Parsnips are another source of fibre, potassium and also vitamin C. The cooking methods are where things can go awry…be mindful about adding honey or parmesan which add calories to an already hearty meal.

Red wine

Red wine is rich in anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. But don’t think this can give you free reign – alcohol is ’empty calories’ and more than a glass or two will add to an already food-heavy day.


Cranberries also contain anthocyanin (giving them their bright red colour) and plenty of vitamin C. Sadly, though not much can be gained from the cranberry sauce, just have a little as possible as it has a high sugar content.

Planning a Boxing day feast?

Portion control: Don’t pile your plate upwards. Try to think about the size of your stomach and be kind to it – don’t stretch it too much!

Avoid skin on turkey: The white meat is best – such as the breast. The skin has a high fat content and most likely salt if you added it, so avoid.

Go light with the sauces: Sauces not only add flavour, but also salt, sugar and calories. Go easy on gravies, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and red current jelly.

Eat slowly: The more slowly you eat, the easier it will be to tell when you’re full so that you avoid that horrible ‘I can’t move’ feeling.

Drink slowly: The slower you drink you wine, the less likely someone is to top it up and the less you’ll drink.

Go for a walk after lunch to stabilise your blood sugar levels and should help to wake you up a little.

Dr Sally Norton is an NHS weight loss consultant surgeon and Founder of www.vavistalife.com.

Dr Sally Norton
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