Updated 17 December 2013

Christmas dinner for slimmers

Spare a thought for slimmers this year and prepare a Christmas dinner that isn't loaded with kilojoules, fat and cholesterol.


Most of us will be celebrating around Christmas Day and will probably be tucking into large quantities of rich food, and imbibing plentifully. Spare a thought for slimmers this year - prepare a Christmas dinner which is not loaded with kilojoules, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol like a hearty traditional meal.

Here are the energy, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol contents of a delicious, but lighter and more balanced meal that could be used to replace the traditional Christmas dinner.

The menus

Here are the two menus:

Traditional Christmas dinner

  • Nuts and raisins
  • Salmon mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce with rolls and butter
  • Roast turkey with stuffing
  • Glazed ham garnished with pineapple and maraschino cherries served with gravy
  • Roast potatoes
  • Glazed peas and carrots
  • Christmas pudding with brandy butter, custard and ice cream
  • Chocolates with coffee and liqueurs
  • Champagne

Light Christmas dinner

  • Chilled melon balls in brandy, decorated with glazed ginger and maraschino cherries
  • Cold roast turkey slices
  • Cold glazed ham slices, garnished with pineapple and maraschino cherries
  • Potato salad with a yoghurt, herb and mustard dressing
  • Mixed salad of lettuce, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, olives, chopped green pepper, onion rings, and feta cheese with a French dressing
  • Carrot salad with an orange juice dressing
  • Fresh fruit salad with apricot sorbet
  • Coffee
  • Champagne

The results

And here are the results of the two calculations for adult men and women aged about 30, employed in jobs that only require light physical activity, and who do about four hours of moderately strenuous exercise a week.

Traditional menu: 8990kJ, 119g fat, of which 45g is saturated, 320mg cholesterol

Light menu: 4305kJ, 36g fat, of which 10g is saturated, 121mg cholesterol

The difference between these two meals is mind boggling.

It's time to modify tradition

Anyone eating the traditional menu with all the trimmings, will consume:

  • 70-73% of the daily energy requirement at one sitting
  • overload his/her body with fat, especially saturated fat and eat more than the suggested amount of cholesterol.

On the other hand, the light menu only supplies:

  • 33-35% of the daily energy requirement (exactly half the kilojoules of the traditional menu)
  • and it does not overload the body with fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Makes you think doesn’t it?

If you take the soaring temperatures we experience in December into consideration, don’t you think the light menu sounds cooler, more relaxed and inviting? And kinder to slimmers and anyone who wants to keep fat intake down!

“But we ALWAYS have a traditional dinner with all the trimmings! It wouldn’t be Christmas without the turkey, the Christmas pud and all the special dishes,” you might say.

Well, this is one occasion when one could modify tradition and be kind to yourselves, to slimmers and health-conscious people.

Why don’t you try eating a light menu on Christmas day this year and see if you don’t feel better for it and generally healthier?

Any questions? Ask DietDoc

Read more:

Survive the silly season
Festive season slimmer's guide
Christmas spice and all things nice

Dr Ingrid van Heerden is a registered dietician and holds a doctoral degree in Nutrition and Biochemistry. She believes that "we are what we eat" and offers free nutrition and weight loss advice via her DietDoc service on Read more of her articles.


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