If we had to describe Christmas lunch in one word, it would be ‘variety’.
At no other time of the year do we go so ‘all out’, with turkey, nut roast, vegetables, potatoes and sauces galore – plus canapes and mulled wine to get us in the mood.
Throw a few desserts and a tin of Quality Street into the mix, and there’s something for everyone, from the real foodies at the table to the pickiest of little ones. Unfortunately, our waistlines aren’t so on board with this festive feast, and the sheer selection of foods might well lead us to overeat and regret it later.
While Christmas is certainly a time to indulge, it is possible to enjoy the food and drinks offerings on the day without compromising your wellbeing, nutritionist Jenna Hope tells Yahoo Style UK.
Read on to find out the calories in all the different Christmas foods, plus how to prevent yourself from overdoing it.
Calories in Christmas foods
Pigs in blankets
One serving is two pigs in blanket – 91 calories.
We all love pigs in blankets, but adding a couple of these petite treats to your plate can rack up almost 100 extra calories. Be aware of your portion size, advises Hope and if these aren’t your absolute favourite, you can trying going for smoked salmon blinis instead, which have half the calories and are packed with omega-3.
One serving is three medium-sized potatoes – 267 calories.
No Christmas meal is complete without some roasted spuds – so stick to the portion size and enjoy. Hope also has a simple trick to avoid going back for seconds: fill half your plate with green vegetables when you get your potatoes. “Greens are a great way to increase your vitamin K intakes and help to keep you fuller for longer with the extra calories,” she explains.
One serving is 125 grams – 173 calories.
Turkey is a really good source of protein containing 30g per serving. It’s particularly high in tryptophan which is an amino acid known to help the production of the happy hormone serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin.
One serving is a 160 gram slice – 216kcals.
Nut roasts are typically only eaten by vegetarians or vegans although this is actually a great way to pack in the fibre so I recommend having a small serving of both the turkey and the nut roast to support your gut health.
One serving is one tablespoon – 30 calories.
At just 30 calories, this is by no means the most calorific part of the Christmas feast. However, it does contain seven grams of sugar per serving– so think twice about overdoing it on this extra sweet sauce. “You might wish to save the sugar for the Christmas pudding,” says Jenna.
One serving is 110 grams – 63 calories.
Gravy is a must have – just make sure your food isn’t swimming it, says Jenna, who warns its the sauces that really add up.
One serving is 50g – 98 calories.
Thanks to the milk, butter and cheese content, this will be the most calorific of the sauces at your table – so if you’re not a fan, don’t feel like you have to eat it.
One serving contains 384 calories.
Although it is high in calories, you should feel free to enjoy Christmas pudding if you enjoy it – but do think twice about what you’re adding it, which can up the already considerable energy content, says Jenna, as traditional custard can add 201 calories. “I recommend switching the custard for natural yoghurt if you’re trying to prevent piling on the pounds over Christmas.”
One serving is one mince pie – 212kcals.
The key is to think about cutting down your serving sizes, says Jenna. “It’s easy to over indulge on Christmas although rather than having both a serving of Christmas pudding and a mince pie why not try having half of each. You’ll enjoy it just as much but you’ll be saving on the extra sugar.”
One serving is one slice – 134 calories
As desserts go, this isn’t bad at all – just don’t keep cutting additional small slices, says Jenna.
One serving is a small mug – 265kcals
This can add a whopping amount of calories, plus 18g of sugar, to your meal – Jenna advises sharing yours with a friend of family member instead of having a whole one to yourself.
Small 175 milliltre glass – 120 calories.
While mulled wine is delicious, multiple glasses can certainly add up – so try making your next drink a more waistline friendly gin and slimline tonic or a vodka, soda and lime.
Jenna adds: “Remember to stay hydrated between drinks as alcohol contributes to dehydration which can make that hangover a whole lot worse.”
One serving is two sweets – 89 calories.
Who else knew a serving of Quality Street was just two sweets? Not us. Jenna says: “Make sure you’re aware of how many you are consuming and aren’t eating them mindlessly or whilst distracted in a conversation.”
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