Come 25 December, you might be tucking into large quantities of rich food and imbibing plentifully – all in celebration of Christmas. The good news is that you can prepare a fabulously special meal without compromising the family’s healthy eating and/or slimming plans.

We list the energy, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol contents of a delicious, but lighter Christmas meal that could be used to replace the traditional version.

The 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

The calculations for the two menus are as follows:

    • Traditional menu: 8,990kJ, 119g fat (45g saturated), 320mg cholesterol

    • Light menu: 4,305kJ, 36g fat (10g saturated), 121mg cholesterol

If you go for the traditional menu, you’ll consume a whopping 70-73% of your daily energy requirement* at one sitting. You’ll also overload your 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 your daily energy requirement (exactly half the kilojoules of the traditional menu). It also doesn’t overload your body with fat, saturated fat and/or cholesterol.

Go on, modify your menu this Christmas. Your guests will thank you, and you’ll be enjoying a cooler, more refreshing meal – perfect for a hot summer’s day.

*The values were calculated for adult men and women, aged 30, employed in jobs that only require light physical activity, and who do about four hours of moderately strenuous exercise a week.