Healthy Christmas eating hacks from Scottish Slimmers

With the festive period traditionally a time of overindulgence, we spoke to Scottish Slimmers to get some healthy eating hacks to give you a head start for those New Year's resolutions. 

Published 17th Dec 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

With 64 per cent of people saying they try to lose weight ‘all or most of the time’, you might find yourself approaching Christmas eating with a sense of determination.

If you’ve been on track to reduce your weight and you want to maintain your results over the festive period, healthy eating experts at Scotland’s only independent weight loss support organisation Scottish Slimmers, have a sleigh-load of Christmas eating hacks to help.

“Temptation is never far away at this time of year,” says Rachael Smillie, nutritional advisor at Scottish Slimmers. “There are rich and indulgent food and drinks everywhere you go. It’s important to keep things in perspective though. Between 1 December and 1 January we eat an average of 96 meals, so Christmas Lunch is just one of those meals.

"You can still keep on track and enjoy yourself, just look out for ways you can make your meals as healthy as possible.”

Rachael suggests:

Lose the skin

If you are having turkey or goose for Christmas lunch, take the skin off before you eat as most of the fat is in the skin.  Turkey is actually a really low-fat meat.

Healthy Christmas eating hacks

Think about your stuffing

Choose your stuffing wisely. Replace a sausage meat or oatmeal stuffing with chestnut stuffing for example which is lower fat and still equally ‘festive’.

Roast potatoes

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Pick the large roast potatoes not the smaller ones when they come your way at the Christmas table. They have a smaller combined surface to soak up oil than smaller ones.

Make your own gravy

Gravy is a lower fat choice than bread sauce and making your own will reduce the amount of salt and fat compared to ready-made gravies.

Ditch the cream

Instead of cream on top of your dessert, why not opt for low fat fromage frais or crème fraiche?

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Check your glass size 

Wine glasses can be far larger than they were 10 or 20 years ago so choose a smaller glass which will be better for your health and your waistline.

Healthy Christmas eating hacks

Change up your snacks

Swap high fat snacks of crisps for olives and twiglets or a small portion of nuts – bonus points if they are unsalted.

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If you are at the office knees-up or a party where there are canapes, take a cocktail napkin for each you select and keep hold of them – it’s a visual cue for you to show how many you have had. The same works for cocktail sticks too.

Healthy Christmas eating hacks

Eat before you go

Eating a light healthy meal – preferably one packed with protein - before you go to an event where you know there will be a buffet will fill you up and make you likely to eat less indulgent finger food.

Drink water

Likewise, drinking a large glass of water before a meal gives you the feeling of being fuller.

Remember breakfast!

You may be out of your usual routine but that’s no excuse not to have a nutritious breakfast which will fill you up and make you feel less like snacking throughout the morning.

Pick your veggies first

Instead of heading for the turkey and roast potatoes first, and fitting in the vegetables around these, put the vegetables on your plate first and pile them high. You’ll be less likely to add quite such large quantities of the higher fat foods.

Rachael added: “This is a time of the year to celebrate and enjoy yourself. Don’t panic if you over indulge. Christmas and New Year happens once a year and it is a time to be enjoyed.”

• With 140 classes each week in 100 locations across Scotland, Scottish Slimmers plans offer nutritious eating plans and encourages activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Find out more about Scottish Slimmers and how to become a member at

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