Life Wellbeing Christmas Day calories: What a feast adds up to

Christmas Day calories: What a feast adds up to

Santa probably can't remember every little nibble that grew his unhealthy belly. Photo: Getty
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A survey found the average British person on Christmas Day eats nearly 6000 calories – that’s three times what’s recommended for women (2000 calories per day) and more than twice for men (2500).

Perhaps they’ll even do better this year, in preparation for food running out when Brexit kicks in.

A US survey found that Americans do even better, eating up to 7000 calories on their big day – but this took into account diabetes-inducing breakfasts of sausages and maple syrup.

What about Australia, with our mythic toned bodies?

If somebody’s done a survey of Australian confessions, I couldn’t find it – possibly because all the survey takers have their faces planted in a pavlova somewhere at this time of year.

So for the sake of curiosity – and with nothing better to do since all the good parties failed to send me an invitation – I’ve cobbled together a rough but reasonable Christmas Day’s eating for an ordinary person who makes a vague effort to resist the mad rush to swallow everything on offer, including the traditional accidentally swallowed house fly (less than a calorie).

And so it begins

The kids are up at sparrow-fart, each present in their chubby hands seemingly unwrapping itself like a slow-motion explosion. The littlest one wanders over with a bunch of chocolate coins in golden aluminium. He offers you one and waits for you to say thank you: 31 calories.

Sensibly, you have a cup of tea with milk (17 calories) and a piece of buttered toast with Vegemite (112).

Seeking to offset the guilt of privilege and also to get some peace and quiet, you go to church and take Communion (0.88 calories per host wafer and 5 calories per sip of Eucharist wine).

Back home, crispy and salty snacks are put out for people dropping by for a morning drink. You feel like you’ve been up all night, need a little boost and yet carefully count out 10 peanuts (56 calories) and a refreshing, pious glass of ginger ale (80).

Damn, who can resist potato chips, but again – based on something you read about Barack Obama – 10 only (100).

Damn again, the neighbours are here with a half decent bottle of bona fide champers, a toast must be made, just to get rid of them (one glass, 87 calories).

Is it 11am already?

Must get the roast potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots on. Cooking with healthy olive oil, but. And pink salt!

The rolled turkey breast is looking good. Couple of chickens just in case. Yes, ham on the bone, but you’ll slice it thin.

Should you start eating the prawns now so everything doesn’t pile up? Just the three, and a squirt of lemon (34 calories).

Why the hell are you eating a mince pie (358 calories)? Oh yeah, because a cup of tea seemed sensible (17). And it’s Christmas.

An hour goes by, and the whole house turns into a cruise ship buffet. There’s panic because are there enough buttery crispy roast potatoes? You take the equivalent of two medium sized potatoes, and you know it’s gluttony but it’s Christmas and you vaguely pledge that the day’s carbs stop right here and now (406 calories).

Now the ham.

Who on earth has a single slice?

Two is bloody well restrained (228).

Turkey breast with skin, super healthy with a touch of naughtiness: like mother’s milk with a shot of gin in it. That’s probably 100 grams (189),  must come for seconds. And of course you’re having gravy, but no more than a quarter of a cup (44).

Small chicken drumstick, skin on (86).

Now for the really healthy side of things: pumpkin (half a cup is 58 calories, but without the olive oil factored in because who knows?); sweet potato (quarter cup is 34 calories, ditto the olive oil mystery); half  capsicum stuffed with rice and squash and minced meat that your sister made and everyone else is ignoring so you’re duty-bound to eat it and give it a review (270, she’s killing you, but red is a good Christmas colour on your plate); green peas (half a cup, 59).

So you’re sitting and eating but it feels a little like working. The ham and the turkey seem to evaporate. Must get some more but then you take a moment to wonder who are all these people?

Are they the Greeks from the corner?

Who invited them? Dear Lord, is an entire lamb carved into thin slices and then put together again as a table ornament? Is this about the shepherds in the Bible?

No, it’s about some kind of herbed lemon sauce that become glazed (292 calories for 100 grams that melts like butter and almost as rich).

You pour a second glass of red wine because red is good for you and it seems to cut the fat of the lamb (244 calories for the two glasses). You decide that will do for the booze today or at least until dinner.

Things have slowed a little. Like everyone is saying a little prayer and you’ll all start breathing again, and there’s seconds to think about.

Another modest slice of ham (114), another potato (203) because you wisely made plenty, and held a tray backs, so now it’s very crispy, and of course another splash of gravy (44) because you’ve got to drink something instead of wine.

Big sigh everybody

The puddings come out: store-bought Christmas pudding and custard, two of those come out (once slice 277 calories).

Pavlova, which is really a palate cleanser, referencing its foaminess more than creaminess, but genuinely light (40 grams beings 100 calories).

But what you really need is a cup of tea (17). Another (careless) hand full of peanuts to help you think (168 calories for 32).

A modest 3730.88 calories so far. Because eventually, there is dinner think of.

So imagine what it takes to match the Brits and the Americans.

By the way, most of the calorie references came from Fat Secret, not because of any claim to accuracy, but because the name made me laugh. The secret’s out.

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