What’s really in a mince pie: Christmas treats unwrapped

mince pies

Trying to stay healthy over the Christmas period? It's best to know what's really in the foods you're eating. Senior Dietitian Victoria Taylor presents her top tips for staying savvy when indulging.

Christmas is a time of feasting and celebrations, but this can make it tough to stick to healthy eating plans. Enjoying your food is one of the most important parts of healthy eating, and all foods can be incorporated into a healthy diet. The trick is to know what is in the foods you might be offered over the Christmas season so you can enjoy the season healthily.

Mince pies

mince pies

Mince pies are high in calories, saturated fat and sugar because of the pastry case, as well as the suet and sugar in the mincemeat filling. If you’re baking your own, only use pastry for the base and leave the top open, just add a small star of pastry or use a lower-fat pastry, such as filo.

Did you know - an average 57g mince pie contains:

Energy
948kJ
226kcal
Sugars
17.8g
High 
Fat
8.9g
Medium
Saturates
3.9g
High 
 Salt
0.2g
Low

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Christmas pudding

xmas pudding

On its own, Christmas pudding is a calorific choice and usually comes with energy-packed extras, such as brandy butter or cream. Instead, try low-fat custard or, if there’s no substitute for cream, try single cream, which is lower in calories per tablespoon than double cream.

Did you know - each 100g portion of Christmas pudding contains:

Energy
1243kJ
296kcal 
Sugars
32.6g
High 
Fat
9.7g
Medium
Saturates
4.5g
Medium
Salt
0.5g
Medium

The cheese board

cheese and crackers

Cheese boards are popular at Christmas, but many cheeses are high in saturated fat. Stick to plain crackers like water biscuits rather than butter puffs, which will save calories, and serve grapes or sliced apples to add sweetness without the extra sugar and salt in chutney.

Did you know - each 35g portion of stilton contains:

Energy
592kJ
143kcal 
Sugars
0g
Low 
Fat
12.3g
High
Saturates
8g
High
Salt
0.7g
High

Chocolates

chocolate

One chocolate won’t do any harm, but once the box is open, it can be hard to stop. Try to only open the box when you have guests to share them, and keep any leftovers out of sight to avoid temptation.

Did you know - two chocolates contain:

Energy
359kJ
86kcal 
Sugars
9g
High 
Fat
5g
High
Saturates
2.9g
High
Salt
0g
Low

The Christmas buffet

sausage rolls

The Christmas buffet is a big temptation during the holidays. Enjoy sausage rolls, prawns in pastry, scotch eggs and pork pies, but in moderation. Instead, fill up on healthier options like salads, crudités and sandwiches. Fill your plate and move away so it’s harder to go back for seconds.

Did you know - a 30g sausage roll contains:

Energy
381kJ
112kcal 
Sugars
0.4g
Low
Fat
5.7g
High
Saturates
2.3g
High
Salt
0.3g
Medium

Healthy inspiration

Our recipe finder has a selection of mouthwatering, healthy recipes ideal for the festive season, including caramelised red onion tartlets, baked potato skins with salmon, and beetroot hummus with crudités. Log in or join Heart Matters to view the recipes.

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