Ten calorie-trimming tips for Christmas

Cut back on the calories but not the taste with our ten easy food swaps this Christmas. By nutritionist Angela Dowden

Festive food is a big part of what makes Christmas enjoyable. But you need to keep calories under control if you’re going to avoid an expanded waistline come January. To help you achieve this without spoiling your fun, try these ten easy swaps.

Swap A 40g (matchbox size) slice of Stilton (164 calories)

For 40g Camembert (116 calories)

SAVE 48 calories

As a rule of thumb, softer, whiter cheeses are less fattening than harder, yellower ones. Camembert is also very rich in folic acid – a B vitamin that plays a role in fighting fatigue.

Swap 150g (3) roast potatoes (216 calories)

For 150g swede, carrot and potato mash with a knob of butter (83 calories)

SAVE 133 calories

Mash is generally a lower-calorie choice compared with roast potatoes, especially when you add swede and carrot. The mash is higher in vitamin C too.

Swap A handful of roasted, salted peanuts (151 calories)

For A handful of roasted chestnuts (61 calories)

SAVE 90 calories

All nuts are nutritious but Christmassy roasted chestnuts are the best option to choose to keep calories down as they’re low fat. You cut down on salt by going for this option too.

Swap A slice of Christmas cake (268 calories)

For A marzipan fruit (60 calories)

SAVE 208 calories

For the same sweetness hit, but far fewer calories, swap a slice of Christmas cake for a marzipan fruit. Made with almonds, marzipan supplies the cell-protective antioxidant vitamin E.

Swap 50g (2 balls) sausage meat-based stuffing (148 calories)

For 50g dry mix stuffing made up according to packet instructions (66 calories)

SAVE 82 calories

Opt for packet stuffing to save calories – it’s not as rich, but just as tasty with gravy.

Swap 2 cocktail sausage rolls (70 calories)

For 2 cocktail sausages on sticks (42 calories)

SAVE 28 calories

Ditching the pastry means you also reduce calories and saturated fat. And those cocktail sticks on your plate are a visible reminder of how much you’ve eaten, which can act as a brake on your consumption.

Swap a mince pie (240 calories)

For a mince tartlet (160 calories)

SAVE 80 calories

By flicking the pasty top off a mince pie you save 80 calories – a sacrifice well worth making as you're still left with a sweet and succulent treat.

Swap A starter serving (80g) of duck and orange pâté (304 calories)

For 2 slices of Parma ham with melon (106 calories)

SAVE 198 calories

Choose the second of these traditional starters and you’ll save nearly 200 calories. The melon also counts as one of your five a day.

Swap 2 level dessertspoons (20g) brandy butter (122 calories)

For 20g crème fraîche (77 calories)

SAVE 45 calories

Tangy crème fraîche goes well with rich Christmas pud, and you save 45 calories compared with brandy butter. That saving increases to 88 calories if you go for half-fat crème fraîche.

Swap A small mug (200ml) of mulled wine (192 calories)

For A 125ml flute of champagne (95 calories)

SAVE 97 calories

Sip a glass of brut (very dry) Champagne and you’ll save around 100 calories compared with a typical serving of mulled wine. Cheers!