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Team JDP Fitness is here to remind you that Christmas doesn’t have to be calorific…

Christmas is usually the time when we relax our diets a little (or a lot). From Christmas parties, get togethers with friends and chocolate boxes aplenty, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, we find that around half of the weight gained over the festive period will remain with [people] over the coming year.

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So to answer our earlier question: a lot.

But saying no to everything slightly unhealthy at Christmas lunch will leave you with a plate full of sprouts, so instead we have provided you with our ultimate cheat sheet. We believe you can still enjoy what’s on offer without overindulging. 

Here are our best food swaps and tactics to avoid putting on the pounds at Christmas.

How to eat healthily at Christmas

Try to opt for small portions – enjoy one chocolate rather than five; buy mini mince pies rather than the standard size; use small plates and glasses – you’ll be surprised by how much less food and drink you consume.

Try not to graze – place temptations out of sight; limit yourself to a few options at the buffet rather than trying everything; eat a healthy meal or snack before a party so you’ll be less likely to overindulge on high-calorie nibbles.

Check nutritional labels for the calorie, fat, sugars and salt content and try to make some smart swaps.

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But what are the hidden fats and calories you can eliminate and still feel like you have a festive feast?

Because we like to go the extra mile for you (and because saying ‘don’t graze’ at Christmas is akin to saying ‘only go up once’ at a buffet for some of us) we have put together our ultimate cheat sheet with the best food swaps. Sometimes it’s easier to do the right thing when we know exactly what that is.

Healthy Christmas food swaps



When it comes to healthy canapes, they can still be enjoyable – just be savvy about what you buy. Swap sausage rolls for sushi. Offer olives instead of crisps.



Instead of a traditional sausage stuffing, opt for a vegetarian version such as apple and oats or apricot and hazelnut. Add herbs for extra flavour instead of salt.

Roast potatoes

Cut your potatoes into larger pieces, this will mean they absorb less fat when cooking, and flavour with garlic or rosemary instead of salt.

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Enjoy your roast turkey with just one simple tweak: Remove the skin and lose the fat.

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Bread sauce

It’s a classic side but can pack a calorie punch. Make bread sauce with skimmed milk and use cloves, bay leaves, garlic and nutmeg for extra flavour.


Christmas pudding

Toppings such as brandy butter, cream, custard and ice cream can really add to the calorie content of desserts, so add sparingly or swap for yogurt.

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Cheese board

Most cheeses that make it onto a cheese board are high in saturated fat, though lower fat versions of some cheeses such as cheddar are available. Serving cheeses with celery and grapes and taking thinner slices can help to reduce the amount of cheese consumed.


Opt for a small wine glass, switch from pints to bottles or half pints, choose small measures of spirits and sugar-free versions of mixers.

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author: Matt Williams


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