This menu plan comes with a disclaimer; we understand and wholeheartedly agree that Christmas should be enjoyed to the fullest, 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-filled January, our Christmas Day menu will help you stay within a healthy calorie range (approximately 2,500 kcals) – and you won't have to miss out on any of the festivities. Happy eating!


Discover our healthy Christmas recipes then check out all our festive recipes, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options for the big day. Don't forget to come back to our healthy Christmas leftovers recipes for Boxing Day, and beyond.

A few notes before you start planning:

Why 2,500 calories (kcals)?

Government guidelines recommend a daily calorie intake of 2,500 kcals for men. The recommendation for women is 2,000 kcals and for children is 1,800 kcals. However, you've probably noticed that food labels refer to one standard reference intake (RI) set of figures – those for a moderately active female. We've chosen 2,500 kcals as our target value so you can tailor your menu to the Reference Intake most relevant to you. Simply choose the lower calorie options from the choices provided below for each meal.

What about other RIs?

All of the recipes listed below have the nutritional information for fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrates and salt listed above each recipe. If you are trying to stick to a particular Reference Intake (RI) please consult each recipe individually.

More like this

You can find a list of RIs for men, women and children on the NHS website.

Christmas Day menu

Christmas morning

Smoked salmon, blueberry muffins, chocolate croissants – nothing is barred from our Christmas breakfast menu. Simply choose one of the options below and enjoy.

Option 1

Crunchy granola with berries and cherries 409 kcals

This crunchy granola with the extra fibre from the berries and cherries, will easily see you through the morning.

Total: 409 kcals

Option 2

Perfect scrambled eggs 254 kcals

Scramble your eggs luxuriously with just three ingredients

Combine with...

Scandi smoked salmon 133 kcals

Top with smoked salmon for a classic Christmas breakfast treat.

Total: 387 kcals

Option 3

Breakfast muffins 179 kcals

Make these delicious breakfast muffins.

Combine with...

Super berry smoothie 117 kcals

Pair with this super easy, nutritious berry smoothie using frozen berries.

Total: 296 kcals

Option 4

Chocolate & almond croissant 384 kcals

Marzipan, almonds and milk chocolate combine to bring your croissants to new heights of decadence.

Total: 384 kcals

The 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.


Soup maker tomato soup 85 kcals

You can’t go wrong with this soup classic, that is also a low-calorie option.

Scallop carpaccio

Carpaccio scallops 102 kcals

How about a scallop carpaccio that’s a perfect, light starter.

Smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche 189 kcals

Impress guests with this smoked salmon starter, with a hint of vodka to give it a festive edge!

Bloody Mary seafood salad 179 kcals

This seafood salad is light but still substantial, and with a delicious sauce!


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.

Chicory cups with avocado & pink grapefruit salsa 30 kcals

Looking for a vegan option? These chicory cups are easy yet impressive.

Ham & peach nibbles

Ham & peach nibbles 19 kcals

These bite-sized treats are simple yet bursting with flavour.

Figs with goat’s cheese, pistachios & honey 96 kcals

This is the perfect stress-free canapé – you can add some truffle-infused honey for extra luxury!

Smoked salmon & herb blinis 75 kcals

No-one can resist the classic smoked salmon blini.

Christmas lunch


Choose from turkey, beef or one of our three vegetarian options – all under 300 kcals.

Meaty centrepiece:

Three to four slices of roasted turkey, without the skin, about 300 kcals (depending on size)

If you prefer classic turkey at Christmas, this is a great option as it's low in fat, high in protein and contains fewer calories per slice than chicken.

Healthy turkey crown Healthy stuffing balls Healthy turkey gravy

Two slices of mustard-roasted beef fillet 150 calories (depending on size).

Or maybe you prefer beef instead, which is also high in protein and makes a great meaty main.

Vegetarian centrepiece

Sweet potato & chestnut roast with tangy tomato sauce 297 kcals

Try a twist on the traditional nut roast.

Vegan beetroot bourguignon 182 calories

A vegan version of the classic bourguignon hearty dish.

Whole roasted cauliflower 120 kcals

Impress your guests with this healthy recipe cauliflower.

Whole roasted cauliflower


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.

Vegetarian gravy 84 kcals

This easy gravy uses up lots of veg and can be kept in the freezer until you're ready to use.

Easy red wine gravy 35 kcals

A grown-up gravy that's ready in just 10 minutes.


Choose your favourites, keeping in mind calories are provided in relation to portion sizes – check the recipes for serving information.

Cranberry sauce with gin & rosemary 65kcals

Red cabbage with apples 67 kcals

Wilted spinach with nutmeg and garlic 68kcals

Brown butter carrots & sprout petals 73 kcals

Chipolatas wrapped in sage & pancetta

Chipolatas wrapped in sage & pancetta 103 kcals

Cherry & pistachio stuffing 128 kcals

Smoky bay bread sauce 137 kcals

Hasselback parsnips with orange & maple syrup 138kcals

Chilli-charred Brussels sprouts 140kcal

Crisp honey mustard parsnips 149 kcals

Lighter creamed spinach 150 kcals

Sticky mulled cider carrots

Sticky mulled cider carrots 153 kcals

Giant pig-in-a-blanket pinwheel 226 kcals

Herby roast potatoes 233kcals


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.

Gingerbread mince pies 293 kcals

Bringing together gingerbread and mince pies in one.

Gingerbread mince pies

Christmas crinkle cookies 88 kcals

Who doesn’t love a cookie with some Christmas spices?

Christmas truffles 80 kcals

Indulge in some homemade Christmas truffles.

Chocolate berry mousse pots 159 kcals

Chocolate and berries make the perfect combo in these mousse pots.

Stollen bites 164 kcals

Turn this traditional German bake into bite-sized treats.

Lighter Christmas pudding

Lighter Christmas pudding 269 kcals

The traditional Christmas pudding, but lighter.

Clementine custard tarts 187 kcals

A festive twist on the traditional custard tart.


While not everyone will need a drink allowance, those who want to enjoy a tipple or two on Christmas Day have been catered for with this menu.

Cranberry sangria 151 kcals

Bring Christmas to this summer drink with cranberry juice.

Mulled beer 163 kcals

Move over mulled wine, try this mulled beer for a twist on the traditional.

Christmas punch 151 kcals

Treat your guests to this spiced Christmas punch.

Christmas punch with orange slices

Espresso shrub martini 135 kcals

The classic espresso martini, but lighter.

Grapefruit gin sour mocktail 76 kcals

One for those who would prefer a mocktail.

Winter whiskey sour 76 kcals

The perfect post-dinner around the fire drink.

Evening 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.

Tiramisu truffles 132 kcals

Lovely little after-dinner treats.

Cookie doughtruffles

Cookie dough truffles 112 kcals

Pair with a coffee after a festive feast.

Reindeer & snowman chocolate bark 128 kcals

One the kids would love to help you make.

Peppermint creams 51 kcals

Perfect for the sweeter tooth, yet low in calories.


Spicy turkey noodles 276 kcals

Use up turkey leftovers in this stir-fry, ideal for a light supper.

Turkey & avocado toast 208 kcals

Or layer up with some avocado on toast for this festive light bite.

More ideas for a healthy Christmas

Healthy Christmas swaps
10 ways to make your Christmas free-from
Healthy Christmas menu
How to stay healthy over Christmas
More healthy Christmas recipes
Christmas portion planner

This page was last reviewed on 14 December 2022.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.


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