Mother's Day is celebrated worldwide, from China and India to Italy and America and is a day dedicated to honouring Mothers. In the UK, it is also known as Mothering Sunday and is held on the 4th Sunday of Lent.

Why not treat mum to a traditional British Roast?

A roast is sometimes seen as an unhealthy choice, laden with fat, salt and calories. However it can be a balanced meal and a good opportunity to include a wide variety of veg. Don’t forget eating plenty of fruit and veg can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Follow our top tips for cooking a healthy roast dinner on Mother’s Day.

Reduce the fat

Meat is often the centrepiece of the roast dinner. It is a good source of protein and contains essential nutrients such as zinc, iron and vitamin A. In order to help reduce the fat content,  try:

  • placing the meat on a rack so that  the fat can drip away
  • placing a tray of water in the bottom of the oven whilst cooking, instead of basting the meat, to keep it moist
  • eating roasted poultry without the skin on, as that is where a lot of fat is found
  • a bean or lentil roast, which contains protein and fibre and even counts as 1 of your 5 A DAY

Go for lower salt gravy

  • Gravy is another essential aspect of a roast, but it can be high in fat and salt.
  • To make a healthier gravy try using a low salt stock.
  • The juices from the meat can also contain a lot fat, so a top tip for removing this is to put ice cubes into the gravy (as the fat clings to the ice). You can then use a spoon to remove the ice cubes along with the fat.

Perfect potatoes

  • Potatoes provide an important source of starchy carbohydrates which helps give us energy throughout the day. They also contain potassium, some B vitamins and vitamin C.
  • Cut potatoes into larger chunks before roasting them so that they absorb less fat, and use a small amount of olive or sunflower oil to roast them in rather than butter
  • You could try using just a few squirts of a spray oil before roasting the potatoes, as this provides an even covering without using much fat.
  • Instead of seasoning with salt try using dried herbs and black pepper for a healthy alternative.
  • By adding some baked sweet potatoes to the menu you can reduce the number of roast potatoes you eat

A variety of veg

  • Vegetables are an essential part of most meals and a roast dinner is a great opportunity to provide at least 2 of your 5 A DAY if not more! Vegetables contain fibre, vitamins and minerals along with natural plant compounds that may have health benefits.
  • Try not to add any butter or oil to your vegetables
  • steam or boil veg for a short time until they are just cooked.
  • If you do boil your vegetables, then use the water for making gravy as it will contain the goodness from the vegetables.
  • For more information on 5 A DAY click here
  • And to look for veg in season

For more information on the sources used in this text, please contact

Last reviewed Oct 2014. Next review due Oct 2017