Article by the Drummond Team

Its that time of year again! Food seems to be all round us, and exercise falls by the way side as our calendars fill up with festive parties, activities, and eating…lots of eating!

Here’s some great information on nutritional facts for some of our favourite Christmas foods – and some tips to help combat that festive calorie overload.

The Nutritional Benefits of Christmas Food:

Christmas, with its chocolate, pies, pudding and alcohol is often thought of as an unhealthy, indulgent time of year. In fact, many of the foods traditionally eaten at Christmas can be very nutritious.


Turkey is a good source of protein and without the skin it is low in fat. Turkey is also a source of B vitamins (vitamins B1, B6 and B12) which are needed to get energy from food.

Brussels sprouts & carrots

Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin C and folate. Carrots are a good source of beta carotene which our bodies make into vitamin A, important for normal vision and a healthy immune system. Both Brussels sprouts and carrots also provide fibre needed to keep the gut healthy. Having a portion (80g) of both of these vegetables with your Christmas lunch will count as 2 of your 5 a day.

When cooking vegetables, remember:

Don’t add salt, add herbs for extra flavour –  instead try steaming vegetables rather than boiling as steaming retains more vitamins in the vegetables. If you do boil vegetables use the cooking water to make the gravy as this contains any vitamins that have been lost into the water.

Roast potatoes

In the UK, potatoes make a good contribution to our fibre, potassium and vitamin C intakes and are fat free before you roast them! Leave the skins on to keep more of the fibre and vitamins in the potato. Choose vegetable oils, instead of a solid fat like lard, for roasting as they are lower in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats. This is important because a high intake of saturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol often known as ‘bad’ cholesterol which is bad for heart health, while polyunsaturated fats appear to be beneficial for heart health in moderate amounts.


Fresh or Frozen cranberries are packed with vitamin C. But because they are tart cranberry products often have added sugar.  So why not make your own cranberry sauce so you can control how much sugar you add or combine freshly squeezed juices with no added sugar cranberry juice for a Christmas drink.



Nut roast

Nut roasts are quite high in fat but the fat is mostly in the form of monounsaturated fats which may have be good for our heart health especially when they replace saturated fats in the diet. Nut roasts are also a good source of potassium, iron, zinc, B vitamins and folate, and vitamin E.

Dates and figs

Figs and dates are available fresh, but we typically associate dried fruits with Christmas. They are after all key ingredients in the Christmas pud and Christmas cake! Dried figs and dates are low fat and good sources of fibre and are great chopped and added to cereal or porridge. Dried figs provide potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. And don’t forget dried fruit can count towards your 5 A DAY – 3 dried dates or 2 dried figs count as 1 portion.

Clementines, satsumas and tangerines

Clementines, satsumas and tangerines are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for our immune system so having enough in our diet is important to help keep us well for the big day. But contrary to popular belief taking vitamin C supplements has not been shown to prevent the common cold.


Brazil nuts provide potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. Brazil nuts are also one of the richest sources of selenium. Other nuts like walnuts and almonds can also contribute important nutrients like potassium magnesium, iron and zinc . Nuts can be eaten as a snack or can be added to salads, muesli or used in baking. However they are high in fat (even though it’s ‘good’ fat) so only eat in moderation.

Christmas Food Survival:

Here  are  ten  tips  to  help  you  survive  the  lead  into  and  the  aftermath  of  Christmas!

Keep  making  normal  healthy  low  fat  meal  choices  right  up  to  the  holidays  

Eating  Out & Party Foods:  

If  having  special  Christmas  lunches/dinners  out,  stick  to  two courses  not  three  (preferably  low  fat  starter  and  main  course,  rather  than  desert),  ask  for  your  vegetables  without  butter.  

  • Don’t eat  additional  bread  rolls,  etc  with  meals.  
  • Make one  of  your  evening  meal  each  day  high  protein,  with  lots  of  vegetables  and carbohydrate.  (i.e.  lots  of  meat  or  fish  with  lots  of  vegetables  and  seeds)  
  • Keep low fat  snacks  available,  i.e.  vegetable dips  to  avoid  the  Quality  Street.  
  • Keep alcohol  to  a  minimum.  
  • Drink low alcohol  beverages  where  possible,  or  alcoholic  drinks  such  as  dry  white wine (100ml  of  dry  wine  =  approx  70  calories),  low  calorie  soft  drinks,  and  lots  of  water.  

On Christmas Day:

  •  For your Christmas  dinner,  dry  roast  (without  added  fat)  all including  potatoes.  
  • Cook the turkey  with  water  in  the  roasting  tin  and  not  additional  fat  (this  will keep  it  moist  thus  removing  the  need  for  the  additional  fat)


Source: British Nutrition Foundation