Christmas is traditionally the time of the year where people are less concerned about what they eat. After all, ‘tis the season to indulge in festive treats and delicacies.
However, as the nation has become more health conscious, more and more people are carefully considering the amount of sugar, fat and calories they consume during the holidays.
To assist those seeking to avoid piling on the pounds this Christmas, original research conducted by online personal trainers and nutritionists at Nuyoo.co sought to find out the sugar, fat and calorie content of seven popular seasonal treats/delicacies from the UK’s five biggest and most reputable supermarkets.
The study examined nutritional information for the following Christmas goods: mince pies, Christmas pudding, pigs in blankets, Christmas cake, stuffing, cranberry sauce, shortbread and wensleydale & cranberry cheese – comparing the same portion size each time.
Calories consumed over Christmas
With regards to calories, Asda’s mince pies were the most calorific of all the other supermarkets included in the research, weighing in at a hefty 280 calories per mince pie. Making it 48 calories more than the lightest option, which was the Morrisons mince pie at 232 calories each.
The research also highlighted that the biggest calorie difference was for stuffing, where there was 120 calories between the highest (Waitrose) and lowest (Morrisons) options. The next biggest calorie difference was for cranberry sauce, which had 65 calories between the highest (Tesco) and lowest (Asda) Supermarket offering.
Nuyoo found that making the right Supermarket choice for your Christmas shop can save you from gaining an extra 556 calories. Based purely on calories, it would be a wiser move for Brits to shop at Morrisons this year.
Sugar content of Christmas treats
Out of all the Christmas items, cranberry sauce at Sainsbury’s had the highest sugar content at an astronomical 54.7g. This was closely followed by Christmas pudding at Morrisons which had a sugar content of 49.1g.
The Christmas treat that had the biggest difference in sugar content was cranberry sauce, which had a 17g gap between the highest (Sainsbury’s) and lowest (Morrisons) options.
Overall, Sainsbury’s, on average, slip the most sugar into their seasonal products. Asda on the other hand rank last for sugar content, and the difference between the two was 20.7g of sugar, the equivalent of over 5 teaspoons, or 74% of your recommended daily allowance.
Fat levels in seasonal goods
The stuffing at Waitrose had the highest fat content out of all the items at 15.7g. This was closely followed by mince pies at Asda, with a fat content of 11g.
Focusing on fat content, the biggest difference was found in stuffing, where the highest (Waitrose) option managed to pack 14.8g more fat than the lowest (Sainsbury’s) one.
Closer analysis of the numbers infact revealed that Waitrose total fat content for all the selected items in the research contained a whole 19.3g fatter than the lighter-option supermarket, Sainsburys.
Top Tips to Stop Yourself from Over-Indulging this Christmas
Where possible avoid nibbles – because they will contribute towards unnecessary and additional calories that you may not want to ideally consume. It’s also easy to lose track of what you eat when you graze throughout the day.
Whilst you should immerse yourself in Christmas TV, boards games and naps on the big day itself – try to go for a walk before and after the biggest Christmas feast.
Where possible incorporate healthier methods in your cooking. Instead of the very calorific chocolate yule log go for the lighter panettone. Likewise, cutting potatoes into larger pieces means they absorb less fat whilst they cook. Also consider making a fruit salad as substitute for chocolates, sweets and candy as a more natural alternative.
Perhaps an underestimated source of calories, sugar and fat. Avoid over-doing it when it comes to your favourite Christmas tipples. Especially ones like Baileys- which has a high calorie and sugar content!
Utilise the internet to find consumer specific sites and forums which allow you to view the nutritional information for all the items you intend to purchase for Christmas. This will allow you to draw lists up of what to get from each supermarket – depending on the best possible nutritional possibilities for your diet.