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christmas foods

Christmas food is all about indulgence, but as with every menu, some things are going to be worse for you than others.

If you're watching your waistline this Christmas season, here are a few festive foods to avoid. Of course, it's hard to say no to our favourites at this time of year, but try to stick to smaller portions of these foods where possible.

On the dinner table

Dark turkey meat with skin
Turkey is generally a low-fat and high-protein meat, but stick to skinless white meat as it contains three times less fat than dark meat with the skin. They both contain equal amounts of protein too so you won't be missing out there! 

Cranberry sauce
This essential turkey accompaniment can be relatively healthy if homemade, but canned and pre-made versions can be extremely high in sugar. Make your own by bringing 100ml of orange juice and 100g of light muscovado sugar to a gentle boil in a saucepan and adding 250g cranberries. Stir and allow to simmer until the cranberries are tender and the sauce has thickened (between 5 and 10 minutes depending on whether the berries are frozen or fresh).

Who can resist a generous helping of stuffing with their turkey and ham? Well, if you're dieting, try to have a not-so-indulgent helping this year. Depending on the recipe, stuffing can be packed with sausage meat and butter – not exactly a dieter's dream.

Creamy mashed potato
Mashing your potatoes isn't going to make them instantly higher in fat, but if you're adding mounds of butter or cream then they're definitely something to eat in moderation. A splash of milk, a tiny bit of butter and some salt and pepper is more than enough for delicious mash.

For dessert

Fruit cake
Given the high fruit content this may seem like a better option than other desserts, but fruit cake is extremely dense and is packed with butter and sugar.

Any cake made with cream cheese is going to have alarm bells, but stick to fruitier, lighter versions rather than chocolate ones for less of a calorific impact.

Yule log
A slice of this can pack in almost half your day's allowance of calories – we're talking heavy cream, chocolate, butter and sugar all in one go. One to avoid, perhaps!


We know, we know, Christmas is a time of joy and love, but it is also a time of FOOD. Lots of food.

The Irish Christmas experience mainky involves chocolate, alcohol and cake – we know how to do things right in the Emerald Isle.

Here are just nine of the amazing foods we couldn't live without during the festive season…

1. Afternoon Tea biscuits
If you haven't already cracked open a leftover tin from last year, don't worry, you're bound to get at least three more tins from neighbours/long-lost aunts/the Christmas raffle. RIP, jelly star. You were the unsung hero of the Christmas biscuit selection.

2. Roses
The ultimate sign of a stingy person? They only arrive with a box of Roses, not the giant tub. Ah, who cares, it's all chocolate at the end of the day. Prepare for some heated discussions about whether the Coffee Escape REALLY belongs in the Roses collection or not.

3. A selection box
Just for kids? Stop your nonsense and pass us that Curly Wurly.

4. Baileys
Save your gin and slimline tonic for January – once December hits it's pretty much obligatory to have a cheeky Baileys or five on every night out. 

5. The melon boat
The standard Irish Mammy "fancy" Christmas starter. What's that? A glacé cherry? Notions.

6. Sherry trifle
Your nana is duty bound to make at least one of these throughout the Christmas season. Laced with alcohol, of course.

7. The Christmas yule log
Basically a chocolate Swiss Roll with the addition of some icing sugar for "snow" and a plastic holly bough or two. 

8. Turkey and ham sandwiches
Forget Christmas dinner, the sandwich you make that evening while watching your new box set is the TRUE taste of Christmas. White bread (fine, have brown if you like), butter, turkey, ham, optional mayo. Perfection.

9. Fizzy orange
What better thing to wash down that sandwich with than some ice cold Finches or Club Orange? Hello, Christmas.


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