Polish Christmas Eve supper – one of the healthiest ones in Europe
The Polish Christmas Eve supper, the most ceremonial meal before Christmas, came up third out of 19 menus from European countries as regards the calorific value and nutritional qualities of the meal.
'Polish people try to follow the traditions and prepare the same dishes every year,' told Polska.pl Monika Prześlakowska with the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, blogger at 'Jedz, aby żyć/Eat to live'. 'We do it ourselves, so the dishes contain ingredients that we know well, without any chemical additives. We know what we eat. Christmas Eve's menu offers a variety of nutritional qualities like the beneficial fatty acids, fibre or vitamins.
According to Monika Prześlakowska, the richness of fish like carp, herring, salmon, cod, trout or pike consumed during our Christmas Eve is particularly valuable. They are the source of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids that are essential in preventing cardio-vascular diseases. The king of the soups in the menu is the beetroot soup, one of the most healthy and at the same time the least calorific dishes on the table. Dishes containing cabbage (dumplings, ravioli, cabbage and beans) are a source of vitamin C and fibre.
'I estimated the calorific value of a traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper at 2400 kcal*. You can reduce that number by avoiding fried dishes and to reduce the number of dishes,' says Monika Prześlakowska. 'However, we may turn a blind eye at such a special occasion.'
The study of European Christmas menus was performed on the order of Lifesum, a Swedish health-oriented website. Employees of London-based embassies were asked about Christmas Eve (or Christmas Day, depending on the local tradition) menus. The results turned out to be devastating for the British, who consume as many as 6000 kcal per person on Christmas Day, with the majority of them consumed during the traditional dinner. Its menu consists of e.g. a roast beef, thick bread sauce, roast potatoes, as well as a traditional sweet Christmas pudding. The entire meal contains 69 grams of fat and over 210 grams of carbohydrates. The Irish and the Germans have just as unhealthy Christmas menu.
The first place in the ranking went to the French, who eat e.g. roast chicken, foie gras, fresh oysters, smoked salmon for their Christmas dinner, followed by fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit for dessert. In this way, they eat 46 grams of fat and 29 grams of carbohydrates per person on average. The advantage the French have over the British is mostly due to the richness of unprocessed foods in the French menu.
The second place in the ranking goes to the Czech Republic, with its menu containing e.g. a potato salad, sour cabbage and fish soup.
*2390 kcal – the calorific value of a sample Polish Christmas Eve supper comprising of: beetroot soup with 6 raviolis (a plate), fried carp (approx. 130 g), herring in oil (approx. 70 g), fried fish served under a layer of stewed and shredded carrots, onions, root celery and leek (cod, 200 g), dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms (3), cabbage and beans (100 g), vegetable salad (200 g), pasta with cabbage and mushrooms (100 g), a glass of dried fruit drink, kutia (sweet grain pudding with dried fruit and nuts) (200 g), gingerbread without frosting (100 g).