AT Christmas we are surrounded by large amounts of delicious food.  There’s no reason to feel guilty about enjoying yourself but it’s worth remembering that, on average, people usually gain an extra 1kg-2.5kg over this holiday.  

We often think we will enjoy Christmas more by eating and drinking as much as possible.  Many people eat their way through about 6k calories on Christmas day which is about two to three times as much as most people need.  But don’t despair, as you can make healthier choices.  

For breakfast try cereals, porridge, wholegrain bread rolls, muesli or granola, which are all good sources of energy to get you through a busy morning.  Even add a small 150ml glass of fruit juice or a smoothie to boost you five per day of fruit and veg.  

For starter at your dinner you could try smoked salmon to boost your Omega 3 or vegetable soup to further boost your five per day.  For your main course turkey is low in saturated fat and high in protein – a good lean meat.  If you are vegan, a Quorn alternative will suffice.

For your roast potatoes try and use oils like rapeseed or sunflower, but if using goose fat or lard try not to overindulge.  In terms of oil, one tablespoon is roughly 120, calories so don’t go mad on this.  Have plenty of vegetables around, such as unbuttered Brussels sprouts, peas and carrots which are all rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre to help protect against heart disease.

Try and steam or microwave all your veg and avoid boiling to maintain more nutrients. For sauces, a portion size is 125g, which is just under a quarter of a pint glass.  For dessert, Christmas pudding is packed with fruit –  serve it with a low-fat custard or crème fraiche.  Or why not prepare a fresh fruit salad and serve with natural low fat Greek yoghurt?  

If you want to have a selection box try and avoid eating the whole thing and remember the 30g limit of free sugars.  A small Dairy Milk bar is approximately 25g.  
Merry Christmas to everyone! 

• Lee McCusker (BA; MSc; MSc; MSc; ANutr; SENr) is a registered nutritionist from Belfast and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Email: attentivenutrition@