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5 Ways to make your Christmas Dinner Healthier

Dec 19, 2014 | Nutrition, Recipe, Recipes for Runners | 5 comments

christmas dinner healthier

A roast is one of my favourite meals- infact if I had to choose a last meal, it would be roast chicken with all the trimmings (sorry bit morbid for a Friday). However, a full on roast dinner can tip the scales at well over 1000 cals. I’m not suggesting you skip anything, but here are a few swaps to make your Christmas roast just a teensy bit healthier!

Rapeseed Roasties

We did a blind taste test and a group of us all picked the rapeseed roast potatoes as having better flavour and crunch. Their crispy outside and fluffy inside really was superior to goose fat roasties, plus they are lower in saturated fat and suitable for veggies and vegan. Winning all round. The yellow colour of the rapeseed oil gives a great golden tint to the potatoes. Use this awesome Good Housekeeping recipe to make sure yours are perfect!

Bump up the Veg

I usually serve a roast with a huge variety of vegetables (mostly so that I have leftovers to take for lunch the following day). I ensure that well over half of my plate is filled with carrots, parsnips, cabbage, sweet potato, leeks, peppers, peas etc. The more colourful, the better. It’s also a cheap way of ensuring your meal goes further.

roast vegetables

Canapes and Starters

Serve a selection of healthy canapés or starters, such as smoked salmon with lemon wedges, these lovely hummus pots (or other dip), a vegetable soup or salad. This will fill people up, stop them digging into a bowl of crisps and over filling their plate with roast!

Veggie Houmous Cups

2 large carrots, peeled

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

2 celery sticks, halved lengthways

1 cucumber

About 100g (31/2oz) houmous – whichever flavor you like

Serve in 12 shot glasses


1 Cut the vegetables into batons, measuring the length so that they come above the rim of the shot glasses you plan on using.

2 Spoon (or pipe for a neater finish) about a tablespoon of houmous into the base of each shot glass. Divide the vegetables among the glasses and serve.


Stuff Veggies into your Cake

This Christmas vegetable cake that I developed sneaks in carrots, parsnips and Brussels sprouts, plus dried fruit for natural sweetness! It’s delicious, and ever so slightly more virtuous than a traditional Christmas cake.

veggie cake

Get Saucy

Make your own sauces; use brown bread and semi-skimmed milk in your bread sauce and up the flavour using garlic and nutmeg. Use frozen (or fresh) cranberries and orange juice to make a sweet but not sugar filled cranberry sauce. Spoon as much fat as possible from the turkey juices in the pan, then use a low salt stock to ramp up flavour in your homemade gravy.

Above all, enjoy it- after all Christmas comes but once a year! Let the countdown begin…

Photos from Gareth Morgans for Goodhousekeeping although recipes and food styling is my own! 


  1. Mary

    We went to a carvery in the week and I was very excited to see an option for Roast without the meat. I’m really not fussed about the meat side of the dish and nut roast isn’t my thing at all but I can’t be doing without the huge portions of veggies on my plate!

    • charlotte

      Me too, although I do love a lot of gravy on my veggies!

  2. healthyhappierbear

    Great pictures! I have to say that I really do wish more people would worry about what they eat the other 350 days of the year versus the two weeks at home or on vacation around the holidays. However, if someone wants to keep the holiday meal healthy, these are great tips and I love that recipe!

    • charlotte

      I do agree, however these easy swaps do make a diff to a ridiculously indulgent day!

  3. Zoe

    A good friend always says “a colourful meal is a healthy meal” – so I’m with you on the large quantity and variety of vegetables to go with the meat and potatoes. But I have to say, Christmas day dinner is really not the time to be worrying about the calories. Eat until your full but not bursting and enjoy the treats.


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