Healthy Christmas dinner
Find out how you can cut 500kcal from your traditional Christmas dinner without sacrificing the taste.
Published: December 2017
Healthy Christmas dinner
Turkey is a good source of protein and, without the skin, is low in fat. It provides B vitamins, which you need for energy production.
The skin on a turkey, or any other roasted poultry, is where most of the fat is. If you remove the skin you can save around 40kcal per portion. Light meat also has slightly fewer calories than dark meat, so choose breast instead of leg or thigh.
Before you cook your bird, prick the skin to allow the fat to drain out. Cook it on a trivet or upturned ovenproof plate so it’s not sitting in the fat.
Stop: 100g of butter-basted turkey, with the skin on, has 146kcal, 4.9g fat (2g saturates).
Swap: 100g of skinless turkey has 104kcal, 2g fat (0.2g saturates).
Chestnuts are low in fat and a good source of potassium, which we need for healthy kidneys. Choose a chestnut or fruit-based stuffing instead of sausage meat.
Stop: 100g of sausage meat stuffing has 252kcal, 16g fat (7g saturates).
Swap: 100g of cranberry, orange and roast chestnut stuffing has 162kcal, 0.8g fat (0.1g saturates).
Calorie saving: 90kcal.
Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrate and are almost fat free (before they're roasted in oil or fat). Baked potatoes are just as tasty but much better for you.
Stop: 100g of potatoes roasted in oil have 149kcal, 4.5g fat (0.5g saturates).
Swap: 100g of baked potato has 109kcal, 0.1g fat (0g saturates).
Calorie saving: 40kcal.
To make low-fat gravy, pour the turkey juices into a jug and wait for the fat to rise to the surface. Then carefully pour or spoon off the fat before using the juices to make gravy.
Gravy can be high in salt. Too much salt may increase blood pressure. If you have gravy, try not to add salt to your meal.
Use semi-skimmed milk to make your sauce, and add a clove of garlic to the milk to add flavour.
Stop: 100g of luxury bread sauce mix has 355kcal, 6.4g fat (3.3g saturates).
Swap: 100g of bread sauce made with semi-skimmed milk has 93kcal, 3.1g fat (1.4g saturates).
Calorie saving: 262kcal.
Brussels sprouts are a good source of folate (a B vitamin) and vitamin C, which may help to protect against heart disease and cancer. They contain fibre, which helps to keep the digestive system healthy.
Serve plenty of vegetables as they're low in calories and fat, but don’t smother them in butter.
Stop: one teaspoon (5g) of butter adds 37kcal, 4.1g fat (2.8g saturates).
Swap: use chopped fresh herbs or lemon zest to add flavour. They have almost no calories.
Calorie saving: 37kcal.
Christmas pudding is fairly low in fat and high in carbohydrate. It provides some fibre, B vitamins, potassium, iron and calcium. But have just one small portion after lunch as it's high in sugar.
You can boost your calcium intake by eating it with low-fat custard, made from semi-skimmed milk. Or have fat-free Greek yoghurt instead of brandy butter or double cream.
Stop: 1tbsp (15g) of brandy butter has 81kcal, 5.8g fat (3.9g saturates). 2tbsp (30g) of double cream has 133kcal, 14.2g fat (8.9g saturates).
Swap: 3tbsp (45g) of low-fat custard has 27kcal, 0.6g fat (0.54g saturates). 2tbsp (30g) of 0% fat Greek yoghurt has 16kcal, 0g fat.
Calorie saving: 117kcal.
If you make all these food swaps, you can save more than 500kcal and cut down your fat intake, which will help to stop the festive weight gain.