While most people around the country will be tucking into the roast turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Day, jockeys have to keep a strict eye on the food they consume during the festivities so a low calorie Christmas dinner is on the cards for these hard-working athletes.
It is, of course, the season of over-indulgence and the average person will eat a whopping 7,000 calories alone on the 25 December.
But with Boxing Day being one of the busiest days in the racing calendar — the highlight of which is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park — National Hunt jockeys will eat no more than 1,000 calories in order to control their weight.
To discover the secrets for achieving this, some of the top jump jockeys in Britain have revealed the lighter way they enjoy Christmas, with low calorie, healthy recipes.
Dual Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell swears by his steak salad for a low calorie Christmas dinner comprising one 200g sirloin steak, avacado, feta cheese and a handful spinach — it takes just 10 minutes prep time and a further 10 minutes to cook.
“It’s my one big meal of the day,” said Leighton. “It’s full of protein and carbohydrates and it is just what I need to help me recover after a long day.”
Champion jockey Richard Johnson meanwhile has come up with his version of a low calorie Christmas lunch, using one 200g turkey steak accompanied by new potatoes instead of roasties.
“This time of year revolves around the 23rd December when the declarations are made for Boxing Day and we find out what weight we’ve got,” said Richard. “With a big family — three children — and plenty of food around, if I’ve got a light weight this is what I’ll eat.”
Thistlecrack’s regular jockey Tom Scudamore prefers his salmon parcel which takes just 20 minutes to cook.
“When I come home from the races, I like to have a nice salmon salad, maybe with brown rice — so I get all the protein and carbohydrate I need after a long day and get me ready for the early morning and cold start the following day,” added Tom.
So if you’re watching your weight over the festive season, perhaps one of these low-calorie options would be ideal for your Christmas dinner? Or if you have a go-to alternative that you think our jockeys are missing out on, let us know what that is below.