Healthiest Christmas dishes around the world

Christmas food healthy

The UK’s traditional Christmas turkey is a relatively healthy choice.

It’s expected the average Brit will consume 6,000 calories (kcal) on Christmas day, compared with the recommended daily intake of 2,000kcal for women and 2,500kcal for men.

In addition to overindulging on the 25th, the early start to the Christmas season means people consume up to 500 additional calories per day in the run-up to Christmas. This equates to around 5lbs or 2.2kg weight-gain before the New Year.

When we look at some traditional Christmas meals around the world however, the UK is relatively healthy. Turkey is known as a lean meat, though served with all the trimmings, the meal itself can be very calorific.

In Spain, the traditional roast lamb is considered an unhealthier meat than turkey, containing 20g of fat. Though popular Spanish side-dishes include white asparagus, which is low-calorie and a good source of dietary fibre.

Eggnog, typically consumed in the United States and Canada, packs 11g of fat per serving, making this a drink to be enjoyed in moderation if you’re concerned about your waistline. Cranberry sauce is low calorie, and one of the “good dishes” in the survey.

While a lot of common sense you can avoid over-indulging this holiday season. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has issued some helpful advice to help you stay trim this December:

  • Forward plan – when dining out eat only small meals during the day beforehand, avoid snacks and if it’s a buffet use a small plate and don’t go for seconds!
  • Smart shopping – make a list and stick to it when you go to the supermarket. Don’t be tempted into the sweet aisles and if you can’t resist some snacks go for pretzels, savoury popcorn or dips and vegetable crudites.
  • Skin deep – Most of the fat found in turkey and chicken is just under the skin, take the skin off to reduce calories.
  • Know your limits – People who enjoy a drink tend to indulge more at Christmas. We all know alcohol is very calorific, so try and avoid sweet cocktails and creamy liquors.

Speaking about these tips, Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA, said, “We’re not being killjoys and saying everybody should follow all of these tips, what we are saying is, if you are thinking about your calorie intake over Christmas, these tips may be worth considering.”


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