News and views on the latest health issues



Rising to the Christmas lunch challenge

Tags: Nutrition

Rising to the christmas challengeIf you’re a man taking on the Christmas Day lunch challenge for the first time this year, you’ll be out to impress. The devil’s in the detail though, so we’ve got all the tips you need to make yourself a living legend.

Hosting Christmas for the first time can be a very daunting prospect but, if you pull it off, you’ll impress the hell out of your girlfriend, wife, mother and guests.

Although cooking the Christmas lunch is quite a feat on its own, it’s all the other thoughtful, witty and stylish details that will put your efforts in a league of their own. 

Cooking Christmas lunch

Stick to a plan
Nutritionist Sarah Schenker’s fact sheet is a foolproof guide to cooking Christmas lunch – it’s available to download here. It comes complete with shopping list and hour-by-hour guide on when to warm the oven, get the turkey in, prepare the vegetables and make the gravy. Follow it to the letter and everything should run like clockwork.

Make homemade trimmings
Nothing impresses like homemade chestnut stuffing – particularly if you have an interesting story about the recipe (it’s your grandma’s or you’ve read it’s the Queen’s absolute favourite). Ditto homemade gravy and Christmas pudding (don’t forget to put some 20 pence pieces in it for luck). 

Post-lunch entertainment

  • Entertain your guests rather than let them slump in front of the telly
  • If you’ve eaten fairly early, get everyone out for a stroll
  • Have hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows ready for when you return, plus some homemade gingerbread, mince pies and truffles
  • Organise a ‘Secret Santa’ present exchange – you can keep the costs down by agreeing to buy witty presents for under a fiver. 

Christmas supper

It’s surprising how peckish you can feel just hours after a lunchtime blow-out but keep supper simple – bacon sandwiches, cheese on toast, a roasted ham, turkey sandwiches, cold roast potatoes, pickles, chutneys and cheese boards all go down well.

Offer your guests a nightcap and wait for their pre-booked taxis to arrive. Once your last guest has left, it’s your chance to put your feet up. You’ve gone beyond the call of duty and deserve a chance to sit down with your loved ones and bask in all the glory. 

Additional tips to impress

  • Make your own turkey stock, cranberry sauce, stuffing and brandy butter
  • Decorate the table with festive flower arrangements and candles
  • Before the meal, offer mulled wine or warmed spiced apple juice
  • Serve a different wine with each course

If you’ve got some tips for overcoming the Christmas Day challenge, share them with others by posting a comment below. 

back to top

Sign up to our monthly Better Health newsletter to receive updates on our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter

Ask the expert

Got a question about health or wellbeing?
Our team of medical experts are ready to help.