LASHINGS of turkey, countless mince pies and the never-ending supply of mulled wine – Christmas day is gastronomic indulgence at its traditional best.
And for that reason, if you're on a diet any attempt to cut back on calories can feel like deprivation.
However, two of the nations best nutritionists have got some ideas for making your festive feasting that little bit lighter.
And Shona Wilkinson and Terri-Ann Nunns both emphasise that you don't have to compromise on flavour or indulging on something sweet.
Here they take us through the healthier options you can make to avoid that uncomfortable Christmas bloat…
1. Mince pies for roasted chestnuts
Portion of mince pie: 350 kcals, 17g fat
10 roasted chestnuts: 200 kcals, 1.85g fat, less than 9g sugar
You might think a mince pie is a healthier option than Christmas chocolates, but its high dried fruit content quickly pushes its sugar content up.
A portion of mince pies can have up to 350 calories and almost 17g of fat, as well as a whopping 20g of sugar -that's five teaspoons.
Shona, nutritionist at superfooduk.com, says her main piece of advice is to "avoid them".
She instead recommends reaching for a portion of roasted chestnuts – as by doing so you will cut calories, fat and sugar from your daily allowance.
2. Eggnog for sloe gin
Glass of eggnog: 350 calories
Glass of sloe gin: 85 calories
You can slash a huge number of calories by opting for a sloe gin instead of eggnog.
Terri-Ann, founder of the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, says: "Eggnog is made with milk, egg and sugar in addition to the alcohol of choice so, depending on the amounts of ingredients used, a glass of eggnog could quite easily exceed 350kcals.
Eggnog has to be one of the most indulgent drinks around Christmas time and certainly won’t help if you are trying to manage your weight
"This has to be one of the most indulgent drinks around Christmas time and certainly won’t help if you are trying to manage your weight.
"Another drink that is equally enjoyable but for different reasons is sloe gin.
"You can have it warm or on ice but it is still a tasty treat – with much fewer calories."
3. Pigs in blankets for Parma ham and asparagus
100g pigs in blankets: 289 kcals, 19.3g fat
100g parma ham, asparagus: 136 kcals, under 10g fat
Pigs in blankets are typically fried, which sends their fat content soaring.
A 100g portion of the festive faves contains 289 calories and 19.3g of fat.
But, Shona suggests trying to swap them for Parma ham wrapped asparagus.
"The fibre content of the asparagus helps support health digestion and 100 grams of it only contains 13 calories," she said.
"Add in approximately four slices of Parma ham and you are still under 10 grams of fat and around 136 calories."
4. Desert wine for sherry
Glass of desert wine: 118 calories
Glass of sherry: 60 calories
Everyone loves a glass of desert wine for after your meal, however, one small glass totals up to 118 calories.
Terri-Ann instead recommends going for a glass of sherry which is just 60 calories.
If you want a sweet alcoholic treat to follow your meal, opting for a glass of Sherry would halve your calorie intake in comparison to a small glass of desert wine
She says: "If you want a sweet alcoholic treat to follow your meal, opting for a glass of Sherry would halve your calorie intake in comparison to a small glass of desert wine.
"You are served smaller quantities of Sherry as it has a higher alcohol content compared to other wines, coming in at around 18-20 per cent ABV."
5. Christmas pudding for sorbet
100g Christmas pud: 329 kcals, 46g sugar
100g clementine sorbet: 55 kcals, 12.9g sugar
The sad fact of the festive matter is Christmas pud is packed with empty calories.
And its dried fruit that's to blame – adding extra sugar on top of that already in the mix.
A 100g portion of pud will add 329 calories to your festive feast total, and a staggering 46g of sugar.
But by swapping it for a clementine sorbet you can slash 274 calories, and 33.1g of sugar.
Shona warned: "Obviously, these are both occasional foods and neither are classed as a health food."
6. Mulled wine made with sugar for mulled wine with sweetener
Glass of mulled wine with sugar: 210 calories
Glass of mulled wine with sweetener: 145 calories
There's nothing more festive than the smell of a spiced mulled wine.
But don't worry, if you're on a diet you don't have to ditch this festive drink – you can instead try and make a lower calorie version at home.
A glass of mulled wine made with sugar contains 210 calories, whereas if you make it with sweetener this drops it down to 145 calories.
"Mulled wine can be a lovely drink to have at Christmas and if you are making your own at home, it is possible to make a lower calorie version," Terri-Ann says.
7. Stilton for goats cheese
50g stilton: 181 kcals, 15g fat
50g goats cheese: 160 kcals, 13g fat
Stilton, though a cheese board staple, is high in fat and packed with calories.
Goats cheese is the slightly healthier option, and by paring it with grapes rather than a glass of port you can half the added calories.
Shona said: "This is also the kinder option for your liver, as alcohol takes its toll on this vital organ."
8. Large glass of wine for prosecco
Large glass of wine: 220 calories
Glass of prosecco: 85 calories
Celebrating Christmas with a glass of fizz rather than a large glass of wine will significantly cut down your calorie intake.
A large glass of wine contains 220 calories whereas a glass of prosecco has just 85 calories.
Terri-Ann says: "All wines and prosecco brands vary in alcohol and sugar content, but a glass of prosecco is likely to be less than half the calories of a large glass of wine.
How to enjoy the Christmas period and say on top of your health
Dr Dawn Richards, GP for Vitality Health Insurance, says it’s important to put your health first and consider the amount of alcohol that you’re consuming over Christmas.
Here, she shares her top tips for enjoying the festivities, while staying on top of your health:
1. Stick to your units
Really try to stick to this NHS recommended 14 units per-week as much as you can.
2. Have a lower-strength drink or make it a smaller one
Cut down on alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength Alcohol By Volume % (ABV).
3. Order a festive mocktail at your Christmas party
Try ordering a ‘virgin’ version of your favourite cocktail from the bartender without alcohol.
4. Practice mindful drinking in December
Mindful drinking involves focusing on what and how much you’re drinking to help stay in control of your intake.
This method can really help you to reap the rewards of cutting down on alcohol.
5. Enjoy a few booze-free days in the lead up to your Christmas party
I’d recommend 2-3 consecutive alcohol-free days around Christmas time as this helps your system recover and can reset your tolerance, too.
"A large glass of wine is 250ml or a third of a bottle, whereas fizz is served in smaller glasses, generally serving 125ml.
"You often find that the sugar content can be lower in prosecco which again, gives it the edge when it comes to calories.
"A glass of prosecco will provide you with 1.5 units of alcohol whereas a large glass of wine is likely to be around three units."
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