Watching those Christmas calories

People eat their way through about 6,000 calories on Christmas day

Christmas is upon us again and although this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for many people, it can be fatal for anyone who wants to lose weight or preserve their hard worked for figures.

Did you know that people eat their way through about 6,000 calories on Christmas day? That’s about three times as much as the average person needs.

At Christmas we’re always surrounded by lots of temping food and drinks. While there is no reason to feel guilty about enjoying yourself, it’s worth remembering that, on average, people gain from 1-5lbs over the Christmas period. But don’t despair; Christmas doesn’t have to be about overindulgence and unhealthy food.

While you should certainly enjoy yourself, you don’t want to over indulge too much and undo all that hard work exercising and eating healthily.

Snacks and treats

Though the main meal makes the biggest contribution to our Christmas calorie intake on the big day, snacks and treats add up to more than you’d expect. A few small changes can shave hundreds of calories off your total.

You might not realise it but a handful of salted nuts here and there, a few crisps, some cocktail-sized sausage rolls and the odd mince pie all add up and without thinking about it you could have consumed a days-worth of calories before you even sit down for Christmas dinner.

To combat this, start the day off with a healthy breakfast. Try porridge, eggs, fresh fruit or Greek yogurt (See IC 28/11/13 for more options), which are all good sources of energy that will help kick start your metabolism.

A wholesome breakfast that is high in fibre will help you feeling full until dinner is served, so you are less likely to snack until then.


If you do feel the urge, chestnuts are the only low fat nuts around, so roast a few and leave the chocolate covered peanuts to one side. Choose reduced fat crisps, plain popcorn or raw vegetables and low fat dips instead. Dried fruit makes a tasty snack – dates, figs and apricots are all good choices.

When it comes to dinner, for starters try melon or smoked salmon. Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, needed to keep your heart healthy. You could also have a hearty vegetable soup.

Tuck into turkey for the main event, its low in fat and high in protein so eat up, but try to avoid the skin or you’ll add lots more fat and calories.

Peas and carrots

Instead of filling up on roast potatoes or mash, why not help yourself to vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, peas and carrots, which all contain antioxidants – substances which may help protect against heart disease and cancer.

And as long as they are not covered in butter or any other fatty spreads they are all low in calories and fat and contribute to the five portions of fruit and vegetables you need every day.

Here’s to a healthy and happy Christmas!