How many calories in your Christmas dinner

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The festive season is meant to be time of culinary delights – when you can enjoy delicious food and drink at the same time as spending time with loved ones and having a well-earned break.

But while mince pies, pigs in blankets and Baileys are just some of the yummy Christmas treats you’re probably tucking into at this time of year, it’s very easy to overindulge.

Indeed, researchers have found that on on December 25th alone the average British person consumes around 6,000 calories.

With men needing 2,500 and women requiring 2,000 a day normally to maintain their weight, this is a steep rise of more than double.

READ MORE: How to cook Brussels sprouts so you actually eat them

And such eating habits aren’t usually relegated to a single day, and it’s probably likely you won’t be burning off that much fuel – other than a post-lunch stroll and shuffling around on the sofa.

As such, it’s unsurprising we gain an average of 4lb between Christmas and New Year.

Go, dine and be merry – but we’ve enlisted the experts to reveal the most calorific parts of the big day so you go steady, as well as the healthier components to fill up your plate with…

Main

Turkey…

David Wiener, nutrition specialist at fitness app Freeletics says: “Typically, turkey breast with skin contains 194 calories and 8 grams of fat.

“Without skin contains 161 calories and 4 grams of fat, but the brown meat can be more calorific and higher in fat. For example, dark meat with skin is around 232 calories and around 13 grams of fat.”

Pigs in blankets…

“It can be easy to get carried away, piling them onto your plate,” notes Sally-Ann Turner, founder of the Bodyline Clinic.

“But at around 100 calories each, it’s best to stick to one or two.”

Roast potatoes…

“The calories per potato depend on how they’re cooked and how big they are, so stick to 130g as a sensible portion guide for Christmas Day,” reveals Turner.

“Potatoes cooked in goose fat are the worst offenders, so if you’re making your own stick to sunflower oil and give them a light spray.”

Three roast potatoes are estimated to contain a whopping 600 calories, according to Wiener.

Stuffing…

“Homemade and shop bought types can vary in calories, especially if the stuffing contains things like sausage meat,” says Turner.

“Working off a supermarket’s own brand as a guide, two stuffing balls is the recommended portion, containing 147 calories for the two.”

Gravy…

“There are just 13 calories in 50ml of gravy so stick to this serving and make sure you cover your entire dinner with it to stop yourself reaching for more,” advises Turner.

Drinks

Eggnog…

“It may be the season to be jolly, but make sure you’re not wasting your Christmas cheer by drinking away a whole load of empty calories in a festive tipple,” says Wiener.

“This year why not swap your glass of Eggnog, which contains a whopping 440 calories, for a glass of mulled wine at just 106 calories.”

Baileys…

He adds: “Ditch the Baileys for a gin and tonic to not only save yourself a load of calories, but also a lot of unnecessary fat,” warns Wiener.

“A gin and slimline tonic contain 56 calories, whereas a glass of baileys contains 130 calories and 5g fat.”

Canapés

“A potato pancake with smoked salmon and cream cheese can rack up 132 calories per serving,” reveals Wiener.

“Try to avoid the deep-fried spring rolls, however tempting they maybe as they could cost you 241 calories.”

Dessert

Mince pies…

“Forgo the mince pies and sacrifice the 258 calories a serving by choosing a fresh fruit salad instead at less than 100 calories per serving,” says Wiener.

Christmas pudding…

“Though the Christmas pudding may be tempting you, steer clear of the 219 calorie per slice and instead opt for a scoop of ice cream for 138 calories,” he adds.

But it’s not all bad news…

“The festive season is filled with a whole range of delicious foods, many of which are also nutrient rich and can make a great contribution to the diet,” says Sara Stanner, science director of the British Nutrition Foundation. Fill up on these eight healthy festive foods…

Brussels sprouts…

They are a good source of vitamin C and folate, and also provide gut-friendly fibre.

Carrots…

Similarly, these provide beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A – important for normal vision and a healthy immune system.

Chestnuts…

They’re the perfect accompaniment to sprouts, and are naturally low in saturated fat with fibre and potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure.

Clementines, satsumas and tangerines…

These are all rich in vitamin C, which is important for supporting the immune system.

Cranberries…

Fresh or frozen, cranberries are packed with vitamin C.

Figs…

They provide potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Nut roast…

Whether you are vegetarian or just cutting back on your meat-intake, the ingredients in a nut roast provide a range of nutrients including potassium, iron, zinc, B vitamins, folate and vitamin E.

Parsnips…

They’re an excellent source of fibre, manganese and folic acid.

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