To show you how these calories add up, here’s an example of what a typical Christmas Day’s eating might look like:
- Buck’s Fizz – champagne and orange juice
- Scrambled eggs on thick white toast
Total: 546 kcal
- Smoked salmon
- Hollandaise sauce
- Brown bread and butter
Total: 644 kcal
- Roast turkey
- Cranberry sauce
- Bread sauce
- Roast potatoes
- Roast parsnips
- Honeyed carrots
- Braised red cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- Red wine (three glasses)
Total: 1,407 kcal
- Christmas pudding with brandy butter
- Cheese Board with chutney, grapes, crackers and oatcakes
- Port (one glass)
Total: 1,492 kcal
- Coffee with milk and mince pies
Total: 492 kcal
- Nuts, crisps, baked snacks
- Fizzy drinks (two cans)
Total: 1,142 kcal
- Sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce on white bread
- Cup of tea with milk and sugar
Total: 410 kcal
All of which comes to an overall total of a whopping 6,133 calories! And this amount could easily creep up if a few more boozy drinks were added at the end of the night.
Here are some tips on how you can cut Christmas day calories – without feeling like a dietary scrooge!
- Drink water throughout the day – not only will this keep you hydrated, but it will also stop you mistaking thirst for hunger and therefore overindulging. Drinking water can also increase feelings of fullness.
- Swap white bread for brown to add fibre to your breakfast, and bulk out the eggs with a chopped tomato for extra nourishment.
- Have your smoked salmon with freshly squeezed lemon and black pepper instead of hollandaise sauce, and skip the butter.
- You can afford to be a bit more relaxed with Christmas dinner itself, which is fairly well-balanced, containing lean protein, starchy carbohydrates and plenty of veg – but try to avoid the fattier parts of the meal, such as the chipolatas and crispy turkey skin.
- When serving, make sure the majority of your plate is piled high with vegetables, and watch your portion size.
- Although turkey is a lean meat, you can cut calories even further by avoiding the darker meat and sticking to white meat only.
- Make bread sauce with skimmed milk.
- Steam your vegetables to retain nutrients.
- Swap roast potatoes for boiled.
- Pudding time: swap brandy butter for custard made with skimmed milk.
- Aim to have low-calorie non-alcoholic drinks (water is ideal!) between each glass of wine, or drink white wine spritzers instead.
- Go easy on the cheese. Try having a small amount of the strongest one available, such as Stilton or Roquefort – this will make you feel more satisfied than a large amount of a mild cheese would.
- Choose oatcakes over crackers for the slow-release sugars they contain – they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Oats also contain heart-friendly soluble fibre, which may help clear cholesterol from the blood stream.
- Skip the mince pies (by the time Christmas Day rolls around you’re probably sick of them anyway!).
- Avoid the crisps and baked snacks if you can; swap these for seasonal treats like nuts and satsumas. Not only will you be cutting your fat and calorie intake, but you’ll also be providing your body with healthy oils and vitamin C.
- Give the chocolates a miss, or try good-quality dark chocolate instead; this will give you the cocoa kick in fewer calories. As an added bonus, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate may, in small amounts, help to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Swap full-sugar fizzy drinks for diet drinks or diluting juice.
- Swap white bread for brown at supper-time and bulk out your sandwich with some green salad.
Following these tips could save you a considerable 3,394 calories – which just shows you really can have your cake and eat it!