The basic foundation of a delicious Christmas Dinner is actually a pretty good option as far as culinary indulgences go, it’s just all the address extras and the excess of the season that leaves us all bloated and carrying a little ‘holiday weight’.

With just under two weeks to go until the big day, we’re breaking down exactly what’s in your Christmas Dinner when it comes to calorific content. This isn’t to put you off your annual festive fill-up or to ruin the fun, it’s to ensure you can make better choices over the rest of the break so you can REALLY enjoy the indulgence!

I REPEAT – DO NOT CANCEL CHRISTMAS DINNER!

Just use the below to make sure you’re aware of what you’re consuming.

How many calories in a Christmas Dinner?

Obviously everyone’s ‘usual’ Christmas dinner is different – yes, I’m looking at you, people who add a few yorkshire puds! The calories in your Christmas dinner will depend on what you have, how big your portions are and how each element was cooked. But below is a breakdown of calories in an ‘average’ Christmas dinner*.

  • Roast turkey (149 calories)
  • Roast potatoes (127 calories)
  • Stuffing (231 calories)
  • Bread sauce (42 calories)
  • Roast parsnips (102 calories)
  • Boiled carrots (14 calories)
  • Boiled Brussels sprouts (32 calories)
  • Gravy (17 calories)
  • Cranberry sauce (45 calories)
  • Pork sausage (62 calories)
  • Bacon (135 calories)

That’s a grand total of around 956 calories for the main course alone – even before you add a starter, booze and desserts. For reference, here’s the calories in some festive favourites.

  • One slice of Christmas cake (249 calories)
  • One portion of chocolate log (101 calories)
  • One portion of cheese and biscuits (394 calories)
  • Christmas pudding with cream (587 calories)
  • Mince pie and cream (368 calories)
  • Three Quality Street (133 calories)
  • Average selection box (1111 calories)
  • One pint of premium lager (330 calories)
  • One pint of cider (200 calories)
  • Large glass (250ml) of average strength red wine (214 calories)
  • Large glass of medium dry white wine (190 calories)
  • A bottle of average strength red wine  (644 calories)
  • A bottle of medium dry white wine (570 calories)
  • One Large (100ml) Bailey’s (320 calories)
  • One shot (25ml) of vodka or gin (55 calories)

Limiting the Damage

So if we’re not telling you to abandon your festive feast ‘what should we do?’ I hear you cry.

It’s simple, if you know you’re having your big Christmas lunch, have a healthy breakfast like scrambled eggs and salmon (not a Buck’s Fizz, 20 Quality Street and a loaf’s worth of thick white, buttered toast). Have a lighter lunch of a turkey salad on Boxing Day, or plan in a few booze free days.

Making sure your approach to food over Christmas is balanced doesn’t make you a fitness bore, it just means you’re aware and can easily avoid that horrible festive feeling of being overstuffed and bloated.

8 Ways to a Healthier Christmas Dinner

If you are in charge of cooking or have any say at all over what goes in the festive feast, there are a few ways to make it that little bit healthier (even if only to mean you can have that little bit more).

Save yourself!

Try not to graze on party and snack food as that’s where you’ll find plenty of extra calories. Save yourself for the big meal and when it arrives get stuck in!

Switch your stuffing

Why not try a tasty veggie stuffing option like apple and oats with herbs instead of sausage meat, adding herbs instead of salt for extra seasoning?

Topping trade

Love your Christmas pud? Well tuck in, but trade toppings like brandy butter, cream, custard and ice cream for yogurt. If you really can’t switch, just enjoy a smaller serving of the more indulgent toppings.

Watch your wine (and other booze)

Whatever your poison of choice is, take the smaller option. Drink bottles instead of pints or opt for a small glass. Stick to diet versions of mixers and also fill your own glass – don’t let people replenish your drink before you’re finished or you’ll lose track of what you’ve had.

Skin your turkey

Make turkey even more healthy with one simple change. Remove the skin to lose the fat!

Bread sauce reinvented

Create a light version of the classic side with skimmed milk and cloves, bay leaves, garlic and nutmeg for extra flavour.

Cheese board challenge

Yes, you guessed it, there is little to be done to make a cheese board more healthy, aside from picking lower fat versions of cheeses (which we all know aren’t as nice). Really all you can exercise here is a bit of willpower, enjoy your cheese with celery, grapes and other veggie crudités, rather than bread and crackers and take thinner slices of cheese too.

Keep on moving

If managing your food and calorie intake doesn’t happen though, don’t panic. It’s only one day out of 365 days in a year. Give yourself a break and resolve to set some goals around nutrition in the new year. Keep on moving over the festive break – if you can fit in some of your regular exercise, great. If not, a nice long post-lunch walk is great too.

If you want to talk to one of the team about getting in shape after Christmas or even getting a head start on your new year goals now, including tailored nutrition plans, why not contact one of our team and find out about our 30 day trial for just £59 – just reply to this email or leave a message via our online form and we’ll call you back!

*Christmas dinner calories sources: Swimming.org , Telegraph.co.uk and Drinkaware

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