Tallinn University of Technology

In the past, there was less food to eat on a daily basis so a hearty Christmas meal provided the energy to continue functioning. Today, people still consider Christmas Eve the time for serving the best food, but often neglect to balance it with physical activity.

jõululaud söök toit

The following is certainly not meant as an admonishment to anyone; instead, we hope it will give you some useful ideas for taking a fresh look at your Christmas menu this year. First of all, being your own best friend is a good start. We know what we love to eat and we know how much food is good for us. So let's not forget it during Christmas.

Sample Christmas menu

For example, a large Christmas lunch or dinner that provides 1000 kcal (i.e. half of the daily energy needed by a 60 kg person) could consist of the following:

  • start with one large Estonian apple and 2–3 mandarins;
  • a small bowl of potato salad or herring and beetroot salad as a starter (200 g);
  • the first course could be a small piece of salmon (70 g) with potatoes (70 g) and a few slices of bread on the side;
  • the second course could be blood sausage (60 g = 1 thicker or 2 thin ones) with fried cabbage (100 g), lingonberry jam (2 teaspoons), and pickled pumpkin (100 g);
  • one small slice of cake (50 g) as dessert;
  • some gingerbread cookies and cranberries for snacking.

This kind of Christmas meal would be varied enough to provide vitamins, fibre, and other essential nutrients.

We do not recommend putting cake, ice cream, kringle, pies, gingerbread, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, etc. on the table at the same time. No one would be able to even taste all of this during the same meal. Fruit should be on the menu every day.

Useful tips

  • A small dessert bowl of nuts (about 50 g) provides 300–400 kcal (15–20% of daily energy requirement).
  • A chocolate bar (100 g), a slice of cake or chocolate gateau (100 g, about 1/8 of a cake with 20 cm diameter) already provides almost a third of your daily energy needs.
  • For the same calorie intake, you can a eat a quantity of roast pork that is about a third smaller than roast salmon and about twice as small as low-fat blood sausages. One extra cut of pork roast (300–400 kcal) requires an hour of running around the Christmas tree.
  • Cranberries, apples, and mandarins are the best Christmas snacks.
  • Most of the time, fried cabbage is not a calorie bomb (60–100 kcal/100g).
  • Be careful with potato salad or beetroot and herring salad as they are heavy for their volume and just one heaped tablespoon can provide 100–150 kcal (5–7% of daily energy).

Merry Christmas!

Kaarel ja Signe Adamberg, Senior Researchers at the Division of Food Technology of the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology of TalTech