Dan Davis, Nutritional Therapist,
for SingleMum.com.au | 02 December 2011
I remember as a child growing up, that Christmas turned into an eating holiday. From Christmas morning through to bed time boxing day I think we were fed constantly. Not necessarily bad or junk food, but the family would sit around gorging superb food and drinking the odd tipple pretty much throughout the two days.
According to research, the average Christmas dinner totals 956 calories, but if you're not careful, you could surpass that and your daily allowance quite easily. The same study estimates the days totals could be around 3,241 calories.
Mind your veg, roast parsnips could have over 102 calories and 6g of fat per portion and your spuds may top 149 calories. To keep the the inches at bay, don't cook them in traditional goose fat. Par boil them and lightly rub them in olive oil. Keep the skins on for extra fibre and B vitamins.
Christmas day without turkey is like Easter without chocolate. And you'll be pleased to hear you'd be making a superb choice, nutritionally speaking. Low in fat and high in protein, as long as the skin is removed, turkey is a great source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. It is also a rich source of the amino acid Tryptophan, which is converted along several processes, into serotonin, the 'happy' hormone. Have you ever wondered why we often fall asleep or feel satisfactory dozy after Christmas dinner? That's the serotonin levels rising. Stick to the white breast meat for lower calories, less fat and more protein than the dark leg meat. Now I know that its not the same without a big spoon of stuffing but a portion of sausage meet filling can throw in 230 calories and 15g of fat.
Pigs in blankets, or chipolata's wrapped in bacon can be a whopping 197 calories and 16g of fat per portion.
Bread sauce, never been a favourite of mine but many of you will spoon a nice portion over your dinner. Be warned, one small spoon could be as much as 42 calories and 1g of fat.
Mince pies, at around 360 calories per pie (without cream!) will cost you a four mile brisk walk to burn off. Christmas pudding, smothered in brandy butter could have 330 calories and 11.8g of fat and your slice of late afternoon iced Christmas cake could add 249 calories and 8g of fat to your day. Just avoid a second portion.
I have no doubt i'll be enjoying a glass or two of booze on the day but bare in mind that a can of medium strength beer is around 180 calories, cider could be as much as 200 and there are over 175 calories in a glass of dry white wine. Five drinks can easily push your running total up a further 1000 calories.
If you like your vegetables you can eat happily knowing that a portion of brussels sprouts, you either love them or hate them, are only 32 calories per portion, boiled carrots a pitiful 14 calories, peas 34 calories and broccoli or cauliflower a measly 9.
I hope that this hasn't put you off your Christmas dinner too much, its there to be enjoyed. And if you do stray a little, don't fret too much. In January I'm going throw a few weight loss tips at you. New years resolutions you can stick to.
Happy Christmas to you all.
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Dan Davis is a Nutritional Therapist based in London and Kent in the UK and a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Panel. To learn more about Dan, please go to his Biography page here