"Could you pass the gravy, Prof?"

The perfect Christmas dinner (no, really)

Apparently there’s a formula for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Scientists and food have been friends for years. Baking is an exact science, cooking is chemistry and digestion is biology at its best. Now though, all of our Christmas dinner dreams have come true with the revelation that there’s actually a formula out there for the perfect festive lunch (note: it does not include cracker jokes).

Aldi has drafted in food psychologists Dr David Lewis and Dr Margaret Yufera-Leitch to devise the ultimate formula for a perfect ratio of meat to cranberry sauce to vegetables to potatoes to gravy. The pair say (quite obviously) that restrained plating up is the key to not feeling bloated at the end of the meal, but also that the combination of certain elements in the dinner have benefits beyond getting your family around a table pulling crackers and clinking glasses.

In their Sensory Specific Satiety survey, Lewis and Yufera-Leitch say the perfect plate consists of 150g white roast turkey meat, 80g roast potatoes, 110g chestnut stuffing and 100g of gravy. On vegetables, it’s 170g carrots, 150g red cabbage and 155g sprouts. The downside to the formula is you get just one chipolata and 15g of cranberry sauce on the side. Stingy.

According to this survey there is more than meets the eye in the humble Christmas lunch. The food experts highlight that turkey contains over the recommended daily intake of an essential amino acid, which prevents overeating (in theory) and comes into effect only when eaten with – wait for it – carbohydrates, (which is where your roasties come in). The cranberry sauce (all 15 g of it) is apparently the ‘feel-good’ bit of the plate, setting off ‘reward’ signals to your brain, and the vegetables are giving you those much-needed nutrients as you prepare to blitz your body with alcohol and the Queen’s speech.

Ultimately this survey comes as a blow to organisation-phobes, help yourselfers and those who don’t own scales. Digest conducted its own quick straw poll of the perfect Christmas dinner and it seems we’ve actually been doing it right all along: stick it all in the middle of the table, pour the wine, fire up your Christmas music and deal with the consequences later.

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