Seven healthy Christmas lunch ideas

CrackersIt’s easy to eat over 2000 calories from Christmas lunch alone. It means in just one meal, an average woman can get more calories than she needs in a whole day!

However, by making small changes to your festive lunch you can help cut back on some of the calories and fat while still enjoying a traditional lunch with all the trimmings.

1. Opt for a healthy starter

First off, try a light starter of vegetable sticks with low fat dips, or make your own soup with seasonal vegetables and help reach your five-a-day.

2. Go skinless

Turkey is low in fat and a good source of protein, but remember to remove the skin before eating and help cut back on your fat intake. And when roasting your meat or turkey use a metal rack or trivet to allow the fat to drain off, but don't use this fat to roast your potatoes.

3. Choose chunky spuds

SaltCut potatoes into larger chunks to stop them absorbing as much fat and roast them in a small amount of unsaturated oil like olive oil or sunflower oil. Don't be afraid to serve up lots of different vegetables (steam, microwave or boil where possible) and flavour with fresh herbs, spices or lemon juice rather than butter or salt.

4. Have a fruity stuffing

Make stuffing using dried fruit like dried apricots or cranberries or chestnuts rather then a pork based one and make your own gravy with the water you boiled your veg in rather than using stock cubes or granules which tend to be high in salt.

5. Switch your milk

Mix up a healthy bread sauce by using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk rather than full fat milk. Or have a dollop of cranberry sauce instead. And when it comes to it, serve Christmas pudding with natural yogurt or reduced fat custard rather than brandy butter or cream and help lower your calorie intake. Or for a lighter option have a fresh fruit salad instead.

6. Watch your portion sizesAlcoholic drinks

Don't pile food high on your plate and if you feel full pass on the extra spoonful or second mince pie if you can. When it comes to alcohol, try alternating drinks with water or fruit juice and keep within sensible limits - no more than 3-4 units a day for men and no more than 2-3 units a day for women.

7. Eat slowly & enjoy!

To help prevent getting the feeling of being uncomfortably full, eat slowly and remember to chew your food well. You want to be able to enjoy it after all that hard work!