We’re all officially on countdown now for the Easter bank holiday and for the foodies amongst us, we’re already thinking about what kind of feast we’re going to be putting on for Easter Sunday.
A day that is renowned for lavish dinners, usually an extra special roast but how can you still tuck in and enjoy whilst sticking to your diet?
We’re going to be giving you some top tips and recipe ideas for how to cook a super healthy roast dinner that still has all the trimmings and tastes delicious to tuck in with alongside your friends and family this Easter!
Often thought of as the centrepiece of any roast dinner, the meat is a big part of the finished plate but although Easter is traditionally a time for tucking into lamb, that might not be your best option if you’re watching your weight.
Lamb can still be a good choice if you go for the leanest cuts possible but a roast meat such as chicken, turkey or pork tenderloin are always going to be leaner and therefore lower in bad fats. So, if you’re really looking to trim back the calories in your roast, opting for a white meat may be a better choice.
When it comes to the carbohydrates on your roast dinner, we’re talking about the potatoes, the Yorkshire puddings, the stuffing which in reality, are everybody’s favourite parts, so you’ve got to find a way to have them on your plate but without breaking your diet!
You can still have potatoes, you just need to choose the best way of cooking and serving them and also focus on portion control. Boiled potatoes with no butter or cream, just served as they are, are always going to be your lowest calories and healthiest option but if you still fancy mash, mashing your potatoes with something like rapeseed oil or a little low-fat yoghurt can still bind it together and give a creaminess without the calories.
As for roast potatoes, covering your par-boiled potatoes in low-calorie cooking spray instead of butter, lard or fat is going to make them a far healthier option.
In terms of Yorkshire puddings, you also needn’t miss out on these as there are healthy recipes out there such as this one from Muscle Food which uses skimmed milk and fry light to make them a healthier option. If you do want shop bought, going free from could save you some calories as they are smaller in size and lower in calories than a lot of branded, gluten-containing ones.
Stuffing is known for not being overly healthy, mainly due to the high contents of butter but it is possible to swap around a few ingredients and lower the calories and fat in this roast dinner staple. BBC Good Food’s healthy stuffing recipe boycotts butter and uses oil, nuts, herbs and wholemeal bread to create an equally as tasty but better for you stuffing.
The biggest portion of your plate with any meal should be vegetables and the same rule applies for a roast dinner. You don’t need to limit yourself with vegetables in general, but it’s always recommended to avoid mixing your vegetables with butter as that is adding extra fat to your meal you don’t need.
If you decide to roast any veg, spray with low-calorie cooking spray before roasting and for boiling vegetables, try to avoid adding butter before serving. If you decide to do cauliflower cheese, remember this is a lot higher in calories than other veg due to the sauce, so if you’re on a diet, maybe give this side a miss!
Gravy is a must have with a roast dinner and in general, using gravy granules will be a lower calorie option than a pre-made gravy or using the meat fat/oils to make homemade gravy but as long as you portion correctly, there’s no need to miss out.
The same applies to condiments such as mint sauce, apple sauce etc, read the packaging for serving suggestions and follow these accordingly!
There really is no need to miss out on the big Easter roast dinner when you’ve got the know-how on cooking healthily.