Tis’ the season for Terry’s chocolate orange, mince pies and mulled wine.
It’s officially that time of the year again. Decorations are up, Christmas trees are on sale and festive markets have opened—rife with the smell of hog roasts and eggnog.
Navigating your way around to find the tastiest treats can be overwhelming and you may find yourself just opting for, well, everything.
And why not? It’s Christmas, after all.
If you’re trying to stick to healthy habits or saving yourself for the big day, we’ve called upon nutritionists Liana Bonadio, Kim Pearson and Naomi Mead to give you their guide to indulging in the right options that won’t dampen your festive spirit.
Head straight for the hog roast – the meat delivers a 27g protein hit for 247 calories. Halve the brotchen bread roll to save 75 cals, and stick to 1 tbsp apple sauce (3g sugar) to avoid a glucose spike.
That highly processed bratwurst packs in almost 300 calories and 25g of fat but only 12g of protein. “Serving it with currywurst sauce and a medium order of pommes frites adds an extra 380 calories and 15g of sugar, plus 15g of fat,” says nutritionist Liana Bonadio. It really is the wurst.
For a hit of filling fibre at just 19 cals per 100g, pile on the sauerkraut. “The fermented cabbage also delivers probiotics, which are beneficial for the digestive system,” says nutritionist Kim Pearson.
The Swiss upgrade of cheesy chips, raclette is an indulgent dish combining melted cheese with potatoes, but it might as well be French for ‘calorie bomb’ – a massive 344 calories and 28g of fat per portion, to be exact. Sacre bleu!
At 142 calories, a crepe topped with 2 tsps sugar and a drizzle of lemon juice works as a pudding without derailing your diet. “For an added bonus, see if the dessert stall has any cinnamon on the go – a sprinkle of this low-cal sweetener also helps balance blood sugar levels,” says Bonadio.
“A waffle has twice the calories of a crepe and at least three times the fat,” warns Bonadio – and that’s before the Nutella. Stollen fruit cake is also a no-go, with all that marzipan and booze totting up 250 calories, 21g of sugar and almost a third of your RDA of sat fat in one slice. Stodge = podge.
Of the festive tipples on offer, mulled cider is lowest in calories and sugar (51 and 6.45g per 100ml) – less than half of those lurking in the equivalent serving of mulled wine.
Don’t be fooled by eggnog’s decent protein count (nearly 4g per 100ml) – the rum, dairy and added sweetener make it a sugar-calorie-fat triple threat, filling a small cup with 170 calories, 6g fat and 16 grams fat. In a word, says Pearson, “avoid.”
Read up on more ways to eat healthily over Christmas and how to nail the perfect vegan Christmas meal.