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Healthy Roast Dinner Hacks

• Nutritionist Kate Withington has teamed up with SCI-MX to share top tips for creating a healthy roast dinner.
• Kate also shares her roast potato recipe and guidance for homemade stuffing.

With roast dinners being a Sunday staple for families nationwide, nutritionist Kate Withington is sharing her top tips for creating a healthy roast dinner.

Teaming up with SCI-MX, a British sports nutrition brand, Kate Withington explains how some simple hacks can create a delicious feast that saves on calories but still splurges on flavour.

Prioritise protein

Kate says: “One way to keep a roast dinner high in nutrients is focusing on the three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate and fat. For those who like to stick to tradition, lamb is a great source of protein and is a delicious, flavoursome meat. Before cooking, make sure you trim off as much fat as possible and don’t fry the meat. It adds more fat and is typically a less-healthy method of cooking. Instead, grill, roast, boil, or bake your Lamb for a healthier roast.”

“Not only is Lamb a rich source of high-quality protein, but lamb is also an outstanding source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Regular consumption may promote muscle growth, maintenance, and performance. In addition, it helps prevent anaemia.”

Switch to rapeseed oil, olive oil or fresh air for roasting

Kate continues: “The next step for making your roast dinner healthier is to use rapeseed oil or olive oil when roasting anything such as your lamb or roast potatoes as these are both unsaturated fats. Not only do they give a beautiful crisp result, but they’re also heart healthy unlike the saturated fat in butter.

“Even though this is a healthier method, all fats are still high in calories so you should still watch how much you use.

“If you really want to be an angel, don’t use any fats at all and opt to use a non-stick roasting tray – saves on calories and still gives a really crispy result!

Pass me the vegetables honey

“A roast dinner is a great opportunity to have a huge variety of vegetables and cash in on your five-a-day,” says Kate.

“If you want to make it all a little tastier when cooking your veggies, I’d be grabbing my manuka honey and giving them a little coating. Manuka honey has lots of benefits for the body such as supporting gut health and could even offer antiviral properties and of course it still makes your food taste great.

“And remember, as a guide, include enough vegetables to cover a third to a half of your plate, this will also help keep the more calorific items to a smaller sized sin!”

All about the roasties

Kate continues: “Roast potatoes tend to be high in fat to start with so a good way to reduce the fat is to roast your potatoes in larger chunks, this will reduce the amount of fat each potato absorbs.

“Oil can be used to create the crispiest roast potatoes, but as I said earlier, make sure you’re using one of the healthier oils such as rapeseed oil or olive oil.

“I always pre-heat the oil in the oven and add some plain flour over the spuds to aid in their end result. I always follow these steps:
1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Peel the potatoes and cut in larger chunks or in half; if very large, cut into quarters, or leave whole if they are small. Tip into a sauce pan, cover with cold water, then bring to the boil. Set the timer and boil for exactly 2 mins. Drain the potatoes well, then toss in the colander to fluff up their surfaces, sprinkling over the flour as you go.

2. Place a large, sturdy roasting tray over a high heat, then tip in the fat and oil. (Tip: to get really crispy roast potatoes, make sure the fat or oil is really hot before you add the potatoes.) When sizzling, lower in the potatoes carefully, then gently brown in the hot fat for about 5 mins so all the sides are covered with oil.

3. Roast undisturbed for 20 mins, then remove from the oven and gently turn them over, I use a fish slice to make this easier. Place the tray on the hob to heat the oil, then return to the oven and cook for another 20 mins. Repeat this all again and give them a final 20 mins in the oven, by which time you should have perfect roast potatoes.

Steer away from shop-bought stuffing

“If there is one food that will make the calories double, it is stuffing!

“Stuffing is typically high in calories, fat, sodium, and carbohydrates but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, you just have to remember that all foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation. So, if you’re serving yourself some stuffing – try to stay on the small side and include as much protein in it as possible.

“One of the biggest sources of fat and calories in a roast dinner is hiding in your stuffing. Often made with lots of bread, fatty meat, butter and other calorie-laden ingredients, the stats can quickly add up.

“In fact, a cup of stuffing can contain as much as 400 calories and more than 25 grams of fat!

“If I fancy stuffing, I make my own. Instead of using bread or rice, I chose whole grain as it is better for your health, opting for 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread.

“I would always use lean turkey sausage instead of pork sausage as these cut the fat content, but the taste is still really good. Turkey is a great low-fat meat and contains lots of protein helping to make the stuffing slightly healthier. If I do want a little treat, I add a little bit of bacon or prosciutto as this can add lots in the flavour department.

“Furthermore, I replace any butter used with a heart heathy oil or even chicken stock.

“The way you season your stuffing has a lot to do with how good it tastes, so bold-up the flavour with fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Even mixing in some pepper, cinnamon, or nutmeg for some added extra zing.”

No oil Yorkies

“Yes, you heard me right, you can make impressive Yorkshire puddings with no oil,” explains Kate.

“You just need to have the right tools for the job. I make sure I use a non-stick cupcake tray, not only don’t you need any oil, but you can pop the puddings out with ease.”

“I make sure the tray is really warm before adding my mixture. If you are too nervous to try no oil, you can add some fats just again go for rapeseed or olive to help with calories and only use a splash.”

Gravy time

Kate said: “You can make your gravy healthier by using chicken or vegetable stock instead. Simply add your choice of spices and a low carbohydrate thickening option such as whole-wheat flour to the stock.

“If you do want to stay more traditional and use the juices from the meat, first spoon off the fat and then you can always include vegetable cooking water for extra flavour and nutrients.”

Switch the chocolate treat for a protein-packed chocolate treat – Chocolate and Jam cake

Kate ended: “As tempting as chocolate treat is, you can still satisfy your cravings with a chocolate and jam cake that’s easy to make and packed with protein.”

All you need is:

• 15g SCI-MX Chocolate Ultra-Why Protein
• 15g Flour
• 10g Cacao
• 3g Baking Powder
• Sweetener
• 50-100ml Milk
• 2 Eggs

• 150g Yoghurt
• 10g Jam
Top (chocolate ganache):
• 5g Cacao
• Liquid Sweetener and Water (dependent on the consistency you want)

How to make:

1. Mix all ingredients for the cake.
2. Pour it in a baking tin (20cm).

3. Bake at 180C for about 20-30min.

4. Let it cool and cut 3-4 circles out of the cake with the help of a glass.

5. Add yoghurt and jam in the middle of each layer.

6. Stack the layers.

7. Mix all of the choc ganache ingredients together (be very careful with the amount of water!) and pour it on top.

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