Christmas Day under 2,500 calories

  • By
    Roxanne Fisher - Health editor - bbcgoodfood.com

Want to have a fantastic Christmas without piling on the pounds? Check out our complete Christmas menu for under 2,500 calories, it won't leave you hungry...

Cider turkey

* This menu plan comes with a disclaimer. We understand and whole heartedly agree that Christmas should be enjoyed to the full, food and drink should flow as you desire and calories consumed will neither be judged, nor counted. That said, if you don't want to go overboard on the big day or are simply trying to avoid a long, salad-hugging January, our Christmas Day menu will help you stay within a healthy calorie range (approximately 2,500kcals) - and you won't have to miss out on any of the festivities...

A few notes before you start planning:

Why 2,500 calories (kcals)?
Government guidelines recommend a daily calorie intake of 2,500kcals for men. The recommendation for women is 2,000kcals and for children is 1,800kcals. If you want to get closer to the GDA most relevant to you, choose the lower calorie options from the choices provided below for each meal.

What about other GDAs?
All of the recipes listed below have the nutritional information for fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrates and salt listed at the end of each recipe. If you are trying to stick to a particular guideline daily amount (GDA) please consult each recipe individually.

You can find a list of GDA's for men, women and children on the Food and Drink Federation's website.

Christmas Day menu

SalmonChristmas morning:

Smoked salmon, blueberry muffins, chocolate croissants - nothing is off our Christmas breakfast menu, simply choose one of the options below and enjoy

Option 1
For those looking for a virtuous start to the day, this crunchy granola is filling enough to take you through the morning. 259kcal
Good-for-you granola
Combine with...
You can use frozen berries in this nourishing smoothie for extra convenience. 123kcal
Breakfast smoothie

Total: 382kcals

Option 2
Scramble your eggs luxuriously with just three ingredients. 254 kcal
Perfect scrambled eggs
Combine with...
Top with smoked salmon for a classic Christmas breakfast treat. 133 kcal
Scandi smoked salmon

Total: 387kcals

Rise & shine juiceOption 3
This low-fat muffin tastes deceptively indulgent. 202 kcal
Banana & blueberry muffins
Combine with...
Freshly squeezed oranges and lemons complete any breakfast table. 88 kcal
St Clements rice and shine juice

Total: 290kcals

Option 4
Marzipan, almonds and milk chocolate combine to bring your croissants to new heights of decadence. 384 kcal
Chocolate & almond croissant

Total: 384kcals

Prawn and fennel bisqueThe main event

Starters and canapés
Depending on how you organise your Christmas feasting, you may prefer to enjoy one of our suggested starters or instead tuck into a few of the canapés below.

Starters

Suitably special for Christmas Day, this soup is the lowest calorie starter option. 120kcals
Prawn & fennel bisque

This lovely light salad is full of flavour. 175kcals
Smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraîche & beetroot

For something really special, try scallops atop fresh greens. 146kcals
Seared scallops with flavoured greens

This make-ahead soup is low-fat but still substantial. 178kcals
Curried squash, lentil & coconut soup

Thai mango cupsCanapés

If you're planning on having a starter, just have one or two of the below canapés to stay within the target calorie range. If you're sticking with the buffet, mix and match as you fancy.

These cute canapés take just 15 minutes to make. 53kcals
Dolcelatte-stuffed figs

These bite-sized treats are zingy and vegetarian. 19kcals
Thai mango, chilli & lime cups

These little bilini-like pancakes are a great gluten-free option. 42kcals
Sesame & chilli pancakes with tzatziki

You can make ahead and freeze these zesty fish cakes. 52kcals
Salmon & lemon mini fish cakes

Christmas lunch

Main (A) + gravy (B) + sides (C)

(A) Main
Choose from turkey or one of our three vegetarian options - all under 300kcals.

Meaty centrepiece:
If you're a meat eater, turkey is a great option for Christmas lunch. Tradition aside, it's low in fat, high in protein and contains fewer calories per slice than chicken.
Three to four slices roasted turkey (no skin) - approx 300 calories (depending on size)

Vegetarian centerpiece
This cheesy main uses vegetarian Parmesan and can be made the night before. 297kcals
Herby cheese roulade

Low-fat pastry? A healthy and guilt-free recipe. 213kcals
Leek, mushroom & goat's cheese strudels

Slow-roast this stunning and hearty dish. 286 calories
Aubergines filled with spinach & mushrooms

(B) Gravy
No roast would be complete without gravy. If you're opting for a meaty main choose from our make-ahead option or easy red wine gravy, both well under 100 calories per serving.

This gravy uses up lots of veg and can be kept in the freezer until you're ready to use. 84kcals
Make-ahead gravy

A grown-up gravy that's ready in just 10 minutes. 35kcals
Easy red wine gravy

Roast potatoes(C) Sides
Choose your favourites, keeping in mind calories are provided in relation to portion sizes (see recipes for serving information).

Sticky carrots with thyme & honey 73kcals
Christmas spiced red cabbage 82kcals
Creamed spinach 83kcals
Roasted cauliflower with garlic bay & lemon 96kcals
Cranberry sauce with port & star anise 51kcals
All in-one bread sauce 77kcals
Chunky roast potatoes 168kcals
Stir-fried sprouts with green beans, lemon & pine nuts 125kcals
Crisp honey mustard parsnips 149kcals
Chipolatas wrapped in sage & pancetta 103kcals
Apricot & hazelnut stuffing 124kcals

Mince piesPudding

There isn't a traditional Christmas pudding this side of Lapland that is low in calories. However, we're certain the options here won't leave you disappointed - from mince pies to chocolate mousse, there's something for everyone.

Gluten-free and egg-free diets are catered for with these crunchy mince pies. 175kcals
Crumble-topped mince pies

Lovely and light yet fabulously festive. 115kcals
Clementine & prosecco jellies

This nutty fig pudding can be whipped up in just 10 minutes. 162kcals
Sticky cinnamon figs

These individual trifle-like pots are low in fat. 160kcals
Rhubarb & strawberry meringue pots

Angela Nilsen's dark chocolate pots are surprisingly low in calories. 167kcal Chocolate mousse

Mulled pear punchDrinks

While not everyone will need a drink allowance, those who want to enjoy a tipple or two on Christmas Day have been catered for in this menu. Depending on which beverages you choose you'll be able to enjoy three or four throughout the day.

Merry and mulled, this punch is perfect for festive supping. 177kcals
Mulled pear & cranberry punch

A simple classic - use sparkling wine for this celebratory cocktail. 147kcals
Mimosas

Deliciously different vodka - lovely over ice or with soda water. 104kcals
Turkish delight vodka

Blend interesting flavour pairings with crush ice for these frozen favourites 98kcals
Frozen lychee & mint cocktails

Perfect for a grown-up brunch. 104kcals
Spiced Bloody Marys

A good G&T is a great low-calorie option. Use slim-line tonic to reduce the calorie count even further. 101kcals
Cucumber & coriander G&T

Creamy pesto dippersEvening treats

It's difficult to plan your Christmas evening snacks ahead of time - who knows what you'll fancy! If you're picking at leftovers from the day, try and refer back to the recipe and estimate how many calories are in your portion. Below are a few more ideas for evening eating...

Lovely little after-dinner treats. 81kcals
Mint chocolate truffles

If you need a sweet fix while watching the Christmas day blockbuster these are ideal. 18kcals
Peppermint candy canes

Lovely and light but still oh so chocolaty. 97kcals
Chocolate chip cookies

Barely any more effort than opening a bag of crisps. 179kcals
Creamy pesto with prosciutto dippers

Use up turkey leftovers in these healthy wraps, ideal for a light supper. 267kcals
Turkey & spring onion wraps

Do you have any healthy advice or calorie-cutting tips for Christmas Day?

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