On average, people put on around a pound of body weight during the winter months and up to five pounds (~two kilos) over the Christmas period1.

This weight often stays on come the New Year, which means that, year-on-year, people may be putting on weight that can lead to health threatening conditions such as cancer. The British Dietetic Association estimates that people eat around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day, which is about three times as much as the average woman needs. Use our tips to help people have a healthy Christmas this year.

Encourage healthy swaps to save calories:

Swap For
High-calorie snacks such as crisps, chocolates and peanuts Vegetable sticks, satsumas and plain popcorn
Cooked breakfast Porridge with fruit, or poached eggs and grilled tomatoes on wholemeal toast
Pate or pastry tartlet starters Smoked salmon, melon or soup starters
Turkey drumstick with skin Turkey breast without skin
Potatoes roasted in lard Boiled new potatoes
Brandy butter Reduced-fat custard or low-fat yoghurt
Mince pies in short crust pastry Mince pies in filo pastry

Suggest our top tips:

  • Have plenty of vegetables with your Christmas meal. Carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, kale, broccoli and cabbage are all filling and count toward your 5 A DAY. Vegetables are low in calories and may help reduce cancer risk.
  • Be aware of how much you drink. Drinking alcohol can be a major source of hidden calories over Christmas and it can also increase cancer risk. Alternating between alcoholic drinks and low-calorie soft drinks or water can help to reduce alcohol intake.
    Use our alcohol calorie calculator to demonstrate hidden calories to patients.
  • Keep active by going for a walk after Christmas lunch, or put some music on and dance with the family. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes every day.

Published in Winter 2014 issue


  1. British Dietetic Association. Food Fact Sheet, Christmas, 2014.