14 Christmas foods ranked from healthiest to unhealthiest

14 Christmas foods ranked from healthiest to unhealthiest

by Eleanor Jones


The nice list…

1. Sprouts

No surprise there. If there’s one food you want to pile your festive plate with, it’s sprouts. These little green morsels are packed with vitamins K and C, and are also rich in sulphurous compounds that support the liver’s detoxification processes (very handy at Christmas!). Just try not to douse them in too much butter and bacon. 36 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 3g protein per 100g

Nutritionist Naomi Mead‘s top tip: “Be careful not to overcook your sprouts – not only will they lose their valuable nutrients, they’ll also start to emit an unpleasant sulphur smell that haunts many of us from our childhood!”

2. Carrots

They may not *actually* help you see in the dark, but thanks to their high dose of vitamin A, carrots really are great for your eyes – and your skin, hair and nails. Plus, carrots get their characteristic bright orange colour from a health-boosting carotenoid called beta-carotene, which is vitally important for immune health. Swapping just one Yorkshire pud for a few extra carrots can help boost your immune system and give you a natural glow – just in time for the NYE parties! 35 calories, 0g fat, 8g carbs, 1g protein per 100g

3. Parsnips

Sweeter and starchier than their orange cousins, parsnips are a nice change from spuds, plus they’re packed with potassium and folate, both of which are very important for your heart. They’re are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C – perfect for fending off those Christmas bugs. 71 calories, 0g fat, 17g carbs, 1g protein per 100g

4. Smoked salmon


Fish in general is great brain food, packed with omega-3 fats and vitamin D, so chow down on a few slithers of this before the annual Trivial Pursuit face-off and you might actually beat Dad this year. 117 calories, 4.3g fat, 0g carbs 18.2g protein per 100g

5. Turkey


Turkey is a lean, mean protein-packed machine, and it’s also rich in tryptophan, which your brain needs to produce the “happy hormone” serotonin. Light meat is healthier than dark meat so aim to load up on as much breast and lean leg meat as you can. 157 calories, 3g fat, 0g carbs, 30g protein per 100g

The naughty (but oh so nice…) list

6. Champagne


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass of champers at lunch, but it’s worth knowing that the levels of our liver enzymes that process alcohol are at their lowest at lunchtime. So THAT’S why a couple of glasses of lunchtime fizz can make you feel more than a little light-headed (and no one enjoys a hangover kicking in at 4pm!). 76 calories, 0g fat, 1.4g carbs, 0.3g protein per 100g

7. Roast potatoes


Just like with bubbles, there’s no way it would be Christmas without some roasties. But dousing them in goose fat and loading them up with salt isn’t going to win you any health points. But you can boost their value by doing half white potatoes and half sweet potato, adding a load of fibre and vitamin A in the process. 149 calories, 4.5g fat, 26g carbs, 2.9g protein per 100g

8. Stuffing

Where there’s a bird, there’s stuffing. The problem? It’s often padded out with a surprisingly high percentage of white breadcrumb – which, although delicious, does not a healthy snack make. When shopping, you want to look out for a minimum of 60% pork or, to have complete control of what goes into your stuffing, make your own! 204 calories, 13.2g fat, 8.2g carbs, 12.6g protein per 100g

9. Pigs in blankets

If there was ever an excuse to basically add half a fry up to your roast dinner, it’s Christmas. But the truth is, sausage and bacon are both processed meats, which means they contain very little in terms of nutrition and can often containing hidden nasties like preservatives and high levels of salt. 281 calories, 20g fat, 16g protein per 100g

10. Christmas pudding

Nuts, dried fruit, spices…you’d be forgiven for thinking this is basically a health food – until you factor in sugar, brandy, flour and suet (oops). However, for a booze-infused cake, this isn’t the worst there is, so we won’t feel too guilty about scoffing that extra spoonful (or licking the plate afterwards). 313 calories, 4.9 fat, 62.9g carbs, 2.3g protein per 100g

11. Bread sauce

It’s the Marmite of Christmas day – you either retch in horror or drizzle it on with glee, but however you slice it, bread sauce is pretty flipping calorific. It’s far less sugary than the alternative, cranberry sauce, but there’s absolutely no way that you can even pretend it’s one of your 5-a-day. 369 calories, 3.8g fat, 70.3g carbs, 11.5g protein per 100g

12. Mince pies

All butter pastry, how we love thee… until we realise because of you, there’s almost 300 calories and TONS of sugar in each measly pie. You can cut back by making your own with filo, sharing with a pal, or (the best option, obviously) going for a winter walk beforehand and then scoffing it whole. 386 calories, 14.6g fat, 58.9g carbs, 3.7g protein per 100g

13. Yule log

Chocolate cake smothered in icing? Never would have guessed that this would have been on the naughty list! Packed with sugar, a large slice of this is likely to send you into an afternoon slump! But Christmas only happens once a year, so we’ll definitely be serving ourselves a slice and enjoying every bite. 467 calories, 27.9g fat, 47.9g carbs, 4.6g protein per 100g

14. Brandy butter

This is booze and fat. Literally just booze and fat. But bugger it, it’s the season of joy – and when else is it socially acceptable to eat butter with a spoon? 558 calories, 38g fat, 46g carbs, 0g protein per 100g.

This information does not replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Weight loss results may vary. Results can vary due to activity levels, calories consumed, proper supplement use and water consumption. These statements have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration.