Getting stuffed this Christmas!

Getting stuffed this Christmas!

11 December 2014

Family Christmas DinnerThe average person in the UK could consume around 6,000 calories on Christmas day alone (versus the guideline daily amount of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men)!  In addition, over the festive period, which seems to kick off earlier and earlier each year, the average person could easily consume an extra 500 calories per day, equating to a possible weight gain of around 5lb by the time January the first comes around, assuming your festivities kick off at the start of December.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is on hand to highlight some handy tips to ensure the only thing that gets really stuffed this Christmas is the turkey!

The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation's largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 7,500 members.  The BDA is also an active trade union.

Best laid plan…  If you're eating out, eat smaller meals beforehand and cut out treats.  Open one box of chocolates at a time rather than having a whole collection on the go and put unopened boxes away out of sight (out of mind)!

Buffet stalking…  Don't bother to hover by the buffet table and if you do indulge, visit only once using a smaller dessert sized plate, avoiding the high sat fat offerings like sausage rolls and quiche, in favour of fruit, skinless chicken and veggie crudités.

Office offerings…  Avoid the office communal chocolate/mince pies etc, take festive fruit like satsumas into work.  Also, remember to avoid the January chocolate amnesty when everybody brings in their leftover chocolates because they want to pass on the lbs to you!  Give the chocs to charity as raffle prizes and start a fruit club.

Store wars…  Make a list and check it twice, when going to the shops, and stick to it.  Avoid those aisles of temptation, or at least, don't go completely OTT.  If you want some healthier festive snacks, try plain popcorn, pretzels, and veggie crudités with a low fat dip.

Big birdie…  Turkey is a great source of protein and a low fat meat option.  Most of the fat that is present in a cooked turkey will be found in the skin.  Why not take the skin off before you tuck in?

Perfect portions…  Around a third of your dinner plate should be veggies.  Cook for the shortest length of time possible in the smallest amount of water necessary to keep all the nutrients in.  Use the veggie water for your gravy and any leftover veggies for a winter soup.  These make a great contribution to your 5-a-day.

Options open…  If you want to go that extra step, try dry roasting potatoes on a non-stick baking sheet or use an oil spray instead of smothering them in goose fat.  You can also make your gravy using veggie stock instead of meat juices, accompanied by a fruit-based stuffing with bread sauce made with low fat milk.

Bottoms down…  Those who like to partake in a drink or two, tend to drink more over the Christmas period.  It's easy to forget the calories in alcohol which can tot up.  Try avoiding sweet cocktails and creamy liqueurs.  Alternate your drink with a glass of water or other calorie free drinks and if you do enjoy a short with a mixer, stock up on low calorie mixers and unsweetened fruit juices and beware the home measures (you know who you are)!

Pie-eyed.  The average mince pie can contain about 250 calories and that's before it's covered in cream or brandy butter.  Remove the lid to cut calories. 

Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA, commented:

"Christmas is, of course, a time for lots of fun and special foods.  The aim is not to make people feel guilty about indulging this time of year, it's merely to outline the amount of calories that can get consumed and share a few tips people may want to take up to temper their Christmas eating and drinking. 

"This time of year, it is so easy to unwittingly consume a lot more calories than normal.  Make plans to get yourself and the family active – dancing, shopping and post-meal walks all will help to burn off some calories.

"Have a Very Happy and Healthy Christmas."


For more information / interview requests, please contact Steven Jenkins the BDA Press Office on:
0800 048 1714

Notes to the Editor:

  • Visit the BDA website at
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, Non Government Organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
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