Sunday, December 18, 2011

Have Yourself A... Nutritious Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! 

I love this season, so so much, but despite the best of intentions I always eat a little more and a little sweeter and fattier than I usually would over the month of December (more champagne, anyone?). Who cares! It's the silly season! I never actually gain any weight, my body just tells me to stop now and then via sleepless nights or that feeling of alcohol and sugar seeping out of your pores, (ew). The key to not gaining weight over the silly season? Being educated and aware of what you're eating. Just knowing the ingredients, saturated fat, nutrients and even calorie content of what you're eating helps you to make sensible choices - even if sometimes the sensible choice is to have half a kg of pudding with a litre of custard, at least you'll know what's in it.

So here are a few of our favourite Christmas foods and a little info on what they contain....


The Cherry is a great source of vitamin C and even has (a little) Vitamin K, as well as dietary fibre which will help balance out some of the seriously lacking in fibre foods you will consume with them. Although a lot of the calories in cherries come from sugar, they're certainly a better option than another chocolate Santa. Also keep in mind that they're not as low in calories as other berries, like strawberries, which contain around 30 calories less per cup than cherries.



recommend eating Prawns (and other shellfish) at Christmas as their high protein content helps you to actually feel what you're eating, (unlike high sugar and starchy carb treats, which will leave you craving more and not feeling a fullness reflective of how much you ate). At around 160-180 calories for 10 large prawns (with no dressing or sauce), a serve of prawns is lower in calories and higher in protein per gram than chicken, beef, lamb or pork with a dose of omega 3's to boot. The best way to eat them is to skip the seafood sauces and just squeeze a fresh lemon over the top, yum! And despite what your 2nd cousin said last Christmas, if you stick to the recommended serving of prawns your cholesterol is not going to be affected by them. 



Turkey's a tough one, because although the meat itself will only give you, for a nice thick slice, around 100 calories and isn't particularly high in fat, it's the cranberry sauce, glazes and stuffing that we eat with it that pack the calories. Cranberry sauce is just sugar, and stuffing is often bread with dried fruits and probably butter or oil. The key with turkey is to stick to the turkey with a smear of sauce or stuffing. Turkey will also pack some vitamin B6, B12, magnesium and zinc.. so the bird isn't evil, it's plate mates are! 

 Roast Potatoes


When your Great Auntie Rose passes you the roast potatoes and tells you to eat more vegies - run!  OK not quite...  A roast potato sitting prettily next to your turkey slice is OK, but any more and it's just not worth the calories. 100grams of roast potatoes contains around 150 calories, depending on how much oil, or butter, was used through the roasting process. Although very high in carbs, it's not all bad news with some B6 and potassium packed in Mr. Spud. If you have any influence over the cooking process, make sure you keep the skins on and use a drizzle of olive oil with rosemary and other herbs, rather than relying on butter to get the flavour hit. 

 Fruit Cake


I won't tell you how many calories are in a piece of fruit cake as I fear I will ruin Christmas for somebody, but butter, dried fruit soaked in brandy, sugar and white flour? You know the deal. Consume in moderation!


Custard is often joked about at Christmas time as being 'just milk', but just milk certainly doesn't contain 160 odd calories per half cup. Although you will get a good dose of calcium from the milk used to prepare the custard, always choose low-fat milk and, if preparing yourself from a powder, try adding a little less sugar than the recommended amount - add a little extra vanilla and it will bring out further sweetness. If you're preparing a chocolate custard, use cocoa to flavour, not drinking chocolate. 

Also don't forget that alcohol is calories, a glass of water between each drink is always recommended to help you slow down!

Man I am hungry now.. 

In the end.. it's Christmas, and we certainly don't eat like we do on December 25th every day. If you watch what you eat a little surrounding and leading up to Christmas with the 14,001 gatherings we all attend, then you will be fine enjoying the actual day and forgetting about what's in everything. 

Stay well,


  1. I'm not one for fruit cake at all or custard... yuk but I do love prawns, especially with a splash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon. YUM!


  2. Mmm custard! You're totally right about education and awareness being the secret in staying (relatively) healthy over Christmas. I've been eating pretty badly all through December but have been trying to minimise the guilt with extra workouts and making healthy choices whenever possible. I'm so excited for Christmas! I'll definitely be indulging in whatever I feel like on the big day. ONLY ONE MORE WEEK! xxx

  3. Cherries are the best! love snacking on them at the moment :) Have a happy (healthy!) Christmas lovely!! xo