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UK Christmas dinner ranks LAST in a league table of healthiest traditional festive feasts

The UK has been ranked last out of 19 in a league table of the healthiest traditional Christmas dinners in Europe 

Christmas Dinner

Traditional Christmas dinners all around Europe have been ranked in a new league table, according to how healthy they are. The research has been carried out by Swedish health app Lifesum, which already has 4.5 million downloads that launched in the UK last week.

The Lifesum app is designed to make help members keep track of their food intake and exercise with the interactive calorie and nutrition counter. When inputting your measurements , Lifesum calculates a personalised plan so as to help you reach your weight and nutritional goals. Lifesum carried out this analysis on traditional Christmas Day meals to mark its UK launch on 11th December. Information was compiled from menus, dishes and recipes, which Lovisa Nilsson, Lifesum’s in-house nutritionist, gathered from staff in the European embassies based in London.

Dinners were judged in terms of nutritional value and fat content, as well as incorporation of superfoods. Sadly, though maybe not surprisingly, Britain came out bottom and in fact it was France who were crowned with the healthiest Christmas dinner, Czech Republic and Poland also making it on to the podium.

Salmon and Oysters could make a healthier alternative for Christmas day lunch
Salmon and oysters could make a healthier alternative for Christmas day lunch

If you’re surprised to see the French so high up there (their cuisine is all moules frites and cassoulet, isn’t it?), here’s Lifesum’s break down on what they eat on the 25th, compared to the UK’s. Warning, this is slightly embarrassing…


MEAT : Oysters and salmon represent a fantastic source of healthy fat and essential nutrients.Chicken and Turkey consumed without skin is also a low fat, good source of full protein. MEAT : Roast beef –  Red meat is not good to over consume. By eating to much you can raise your cholestorol levels and increase the potential risk certain types of cancer.Roast turkey – A lean meat that can be even healthier if you remove the skin.
FIBRE : Scoring highly because of haricot verts as a side dish and fruits and nuts for dessert.ORFresh fruit and Nuts – two major sources for dietary fibersHaricot verts – Contains 4 grams of dietary fibres per serving. A great source to obtain fibre because of its low energy density. FIBRE : Nut roast – this vegetarian roast alternative provides a lot of dietary fibres – 5.1 g per serving. However, very calorie dense… not the best way to obtain those fibres.
FAT : Chestnut stuffing instead of sausage meat is a real plus point, being low in fat.All choices of meat used in French meals are low in fat and contain a lot of unsaturated healthy fats.The only villain would be the foie gras which contains some saturated fat. FAT : All of these foods are high in total fat…Bread sauce – often made with a lot of butter and creamSausage stuffing – a normal/standard serving contins 26 g of total fatRoast potatoes – Roasting the potatoes in a lot of oil or butter makes them even more energy rich..Brandy butter – Butter have a lot of saturated fats which can influence your circulatory system negatively.
SUPER FOODS : Haricot verts (green beans) and Courgettes (zucchinis) – two veggies full of vitamin A and C as well as manganese and phytochemicals which gives them antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. SUPER FOODS : Brussel sprouts – a vegetable with high omega 3 fatty acids. Helps to control cholesterol levels. Includes a component called glucosinolates which are known to prevent different types of cancers.
DESSERT : A lot of vitamin-packed dried and fresh fruits and nuts consumed along with the typical christmas sweets and desserts improves France’s unimpressive score slightly. However, those in Southern France who opt for the traditional 13 desserts – typically including fruit, dried fruit and nuts, alongside more sugary treats (e.g. small portions of Walnut, Quince cheese, Almond, Raisin, Apple, Pear, Orange, Winter melon, Calisson of Aix-en-Provence, fougasse (Provençal bread), Nougat blanc, Nougat noir au miel) – are enjoying one of the most comparatively healthy deserts in Europe (and would have a much higher score). DESSERT : Christmas pudding and Trifles are totally packed with sugar and fat. The traditional UK christmas menu is lacking in healthy treats.
46g total fat – 24% saturated fat 29g total carbs – 31% sugar    69g total fat – 42% saturated fat 211g total carbs – 30% sugar


Christmas Carp

So if you’re planning on having a happy, healthy Christmas, you may want to consider going continental. If French isn’t your thing, you could try swapping turkey for carp, a traditional dish favoured in the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and Austria. Maybe next year.

To find out more about Lifesum, you can also follow them on Twitter at @Lifesum

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