Festive diet savers

Swap Christmas pudding for fruit trifle and save serious calories

Maria Abi Hanna
Maria Abi Hanna
Avoid mashed potatoes
Avoid mashed potatoes
Opt for olives stuffed with low-fat feta
Opt for olives stuffed with low-fat feta
Ditch unhealthy crisps
Ditch unhealthy crisps
Goat’s cheese is a lighter choice
Goat’s cheese is a lighter choice
Resist Christmas pudding
Resist Christmas pudding
Steer clear of turkey leg
Steer clear of turkey leg

Watching your waistline? Rather than throw it all away at the first sight of a canapé tray, Maria Abi Hanna from The Right Bite Nutrition reveals six quick switches to save you hundreds of calories over Christmas.

Ditch: Salted nuts 310 calories and 26.5g fat per 50g serving.
Choose: Olives stuffed with low-fat feta cheese 150 calories and 4g fat per 50g serving.
‘Mixed salted nuts are a common snack at parties. Cut down on your salt intake and swap them with pitted green olives stuffed with low-fat feta cheese. Be careful of your portion sizes though, as mindless munching can add unwanted calories.

Ditch: Crisps 133 calories and 8.4g fat per 25g serving.
Choose: Wholegrain crackers with toppings 64 calories and 4.3g fat per 25g serving.
‘Although crisps might be hard to resist, they aren’t always good for us as they are processed, rich in saturated fats and high in calories. Instead, opt for wholegrain crackers. You can turn these into interesting party snacks by topping them with smoked salmon and avocado, low-fat goat’s cheese and crushed walnuts’, or a host of other toppings.

Ditch: Thousand Island dressing and cheesy dips 107 calories and 10g fat per 30g serving.
Choose: Hummus 73 calories and 5.3g fat per 30g serving.
‘Why waste your calories on dips? Replace these rich, creamy, cheesy sauces with homemade hummus, which is just as tasty and contains more protein and less fat.’

Ditch: Turkey leg 144 calories and 5.4g fat per 100g serving.
Choose: Skinless turkey breast 104 calories and 1.66g fat per 100g serving.
‘Turkey is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B and selenium – a powerful antioxidant. It’s also low in fat, if eaten correctly. Remove the skin as this is where most of the fat is contained and go for light meat such as turkey breast, instead of the leg or thigh.’

Ditch: Roast or mashed potatoes 150 calories and 4.5g fat per 100g serving.
Choose: Baked sweet potatoes 86 calories and 0.05g fat per 100g serving.
‘Sweet potatoes are versatile vegetables with many benefits and can make a great addition to your meal. They are a good source of fibre and have a lower glycemic index than regular white potatoes, which will help you feel fuller for longer as they help maintain steady blood sugar levels. They also contain vitamin C and potassium, as well as vitamin B6, which is good for the health of your heart.’

Ditch: Traditional gravy 71 calories and 4g fat per half cup serving.
Choose: Low-fat gravy 25 calories and 0.2g fat per half cup serving.
‘Turkey isn’t complete without gravy, but go for healthier recipes that contain less fat and fewer calories than traditional versions. Use the turkey stock from the roasting pan once you’ve skimmed the fat by using a fat-separating pitcher and avoid adding butter. Control your portion by limiting yourself to a tablespoon of gravy, because gravy calories can add up fats.’

Ditch: Christmas pudding and cream 427 calories and 20g fat per 25g serving.
Choose: Super fruit trifle 202 calories and 6g fat per 25g serving.
‘There’s no need to skip dessert all together, but going for healthier alternatives will keep you feeling light and satisfied. Make a healthy trifle using skimmed milk for the custard and pack it with antioxidant super fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and cranberries.

Also, make your own homemade sponge cake from scratch using whole-wheat flour.’
Right Bite, Al Hudaiba Awards Building, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.right-bite.com (04 338 8763).

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