Here's what your dinner would look like if you consumed a recommended amount of calories on Christmas Day
Christmas is the one time of year when most of us forget about eating sensibly and overindulge in food and drink.
Almost three quarters of Brits say they don’t think about the number of calories they consume over the festive period.
A month of scoffing usually culminates in a Christmas dinner of roast turkey with all the trimmings, followed by puddings, mince pies and cheese boards, all washed down with copious amounts of booze.
The average Brit eats more than 5,200 calories during Christmas dinner alone — and a whopping 190g of fat, a survey by nutrition company Forza Supplements found.
But, our yuletide plates would look very different if Public Health England (PHE) decided the portions.
Donald Trump tells little boy ‘now we want peace’ as he updates children on Santa’s location during NORAD phone-in
The Taxpayers’ Alliance has calculated what our Christmas lunches would look like if we followed PHE guidelines over the festive period.
The average male should eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain his weight. This means, if he ate a normal breakfast and supper, his Yuletide dinner would be have to be significantly slimmer.
Nutritional guidelines would allow him a few slices of turkey and a plate full of veg.
There would be no potatoes roasted in goose fat as a healthy portion of carbs would have to be boiled.
For desert he could indulge in just a twentieth of a mince pie.
Alcohol is also limited to just a mouthful of champagne and a small glass of wine.
Revealed: The hidden health benefits of your Christmas dinner – and why you should never leave your Brussel sprouts
And chocoholics could only feast on a quarter of a fun-size Mars bar.
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “All year long public health Tsars tell us what to eat, drink and how to spend our leisure time.
“I wonder if public health officials this year will be practicing what they preach by following their own healthy eating guidelines?”
But, Christmas dinner ‘s are not all that unhealthy.
Below we look at why… and what tips can make it even better for you without losing flavour.
Turkey is high in protein and packed full of minerals and vitamins , which are great for energy production.
It is a source of tryptophan, which can boost your mood, and zinc and selenium, which are good for your skin and immune system. A skinless turkey is lowest in fat.
Where to get your Christmas takeaway? The fast food chains that will be open and the best festive deals
Sprouts are one of the healthiest things on the plate. They’re a great source of vitamins K and C, which promote healthy bones, and are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which help the heart and brain.
They can be high in salt, but this is balanced by the potassium content, which helps control high blood pressure . Sprouts also produce enzymes which protect the body against cancer. You should steam them for best results.
Cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties which scientists think can help reduce the risk of heart disease, mainly by preventing platelet build up and lowering blood pressure.
Other studies have shown that cranberries can halt the growth of tumours in various parts of the body, such as the colon, breast, liver, ovaries and prostate.
But beware. Canned sauces can come packed with sugar, so make a naturally sweetened version with honey or maple syrup for maximum health benefits.
These are loaded with health benefits. First of all, they are high in potassium, which is good for the heart, and folate, which helps keep blood healthy. They are composed of soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and cut diabetes risk.
They’re a perfect accompaniment to a hearty Christmas meal because they’re also good for the digestive system, helping to prevent constipation, bloating and other nasty stomach problems.
If you’re trying to lose weight, parsnips aren’t just low in calories – they fill you up and prevent the release of ghrelin, otherwise known as the hunger hormone.
Don’t peel parsnips. This strips them of nutrients. Just give them a gentle scrub to remove any dirt and put them in the oven to roast.
Christmas food ideas – Recipes and timings for vegetables and roast trimmings from top chefs
The health benefits of potatoes are often overlooked because they are a carbohydrate. But there are lots of advantages if you eat them in moderation. They can help to manage insomnia and reduce the signs of ageing.
This is because they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Like parsnips, they are very easy to digest. The mix of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium help relieve inflammation. Stick to roasting potatoes and don’t be tempted to fry them, which costs three quarters of the nutrients.
Dessert can count as one of your five a day. Although not low in fat, Christmas cakes and puddings contain lots of dried fruit. Making your Christmas pudding with certain spices can help maximise the health benefits.
Cinnamon protects brain function, fights infections and diabetes , while nutmeg is a great natural painkiller, as well as being good for the kidneys and liver.