With Christmas on the horizon you may think that healthy eating is going to take a back seat until the New Year. Chocolate, Christmas pudding and mince pies are not what many would consider healthy foods and they are certainly not low in calories. However, if you make a few smart substitutions over the festive period you can sneak in some healthy foods whilst still enjoying the Christmas treats. Today I am going to help you do just that with a list of 5 low calorie Christmas food substitutes.
1) CLOTTED CREAM > NATURAL YOGURT:- Clotted cream is a popular side dish at Christmas. When you have mince pies or Christmas pudding the chances are you will have a generous layer of clotted cream on top. Unfortunately, covering all your desserts in clotted cream adds some serious calories with 100 grams (g) coming in at 586 calories. Switching the clotted cream for natural yogurt knocks off almost all these calories with 100g coming in at just 63 calories. Natural yogurt is also full of nutrients, containing high levels of the B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium and protein. Its health benefits include building strong bones and boosting your immune system.
2) CHRISTMAS PUDDING > FRUIT SALAD:- Christmas pudding is a rich, traditional, high calorie dessert. 100g of this festive pudding containing a significant 330 calories. Swapping Christmas pudding for the much lighter option of fruit salad seriously reduces the total calories with a 100g portion containing just 88 calories. Fruit salad is also a healthy carbohydrate source and contains high levels of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Some of its main health benefits include supporting regular bowel movements and reducing your risk of bowel disease.
3) MILK CHOCOLATE > DARK CHOCOLATE:- Milk chocolate is normally the most popular chocolate choice when it comes to Christmas treats. However, by switching to dark chocolate you can shave off a few calories. The savings are not huge with 100g of milk chocolate containing 530 calories and the same amount of dark chocolate containing 510 calories but small changes can make big differences. Apart from the difference in calories, dark chocolate also has a number of unique health benefits. It is rich in flavanoids (antioxidants which help protect your body from damaging free radicals), vitamins and minerals. Dark chocolate also has mood boosting properties. It boosts serotonin levels (which can reduce feelings of depression), boosts endorphin levels (which can lead to feelings of euphoria) and contains phenylethylamine (which has mild mood boosting properties).
4) MINCE PIE > DRIED RAISINS:- Minced pies are a popular festive snack. Unfortunately, they are also rich in calories, processed carbohydrates and refined sugar with a standard 55g mince pie containing 200 calories (or 364 calories per 100g). By substituting mince pies for dried raisins you cut out the high calorie pastry and are left with 150 calories per 55g serving (or 272 calories per 100g serving).
5) MINI SAUSAGE ROLLS > MINI TURKEY PIECES:- Mini sausage rolls can be found on almost every Christmas buffet. Unfortunately, these tiny little treats pack a lot of calories. Just 1 mini sausage roll (15g) contains 53 calories which adds up to 353 calories per 100g. However, if you swap the mini sausage rolls for mini pieces of turkey you can significantly reduce the total calories with a 15g serving coming in at 19 calories. This adds up to a much more reasonable 127 calories per 100g. If you find the turkey pieces taste too bland on their own try marinating them in a mixture of your favourite herbs and olive oil overnight. This will add some strong flavour without many additional calories. Aside from being the low calorie option, turkey also has a number of health benefits. It has been linked with cancer prevention, healthy growth, improved sleep cycles and a strong immune system.
Eating healthy all the time during the festive period is highly unlikely. However, if you use some of the tips in this article and make a few key food substitutions you can avoid piling on the Christmas pounds. For example, instead of going for that second mince pie, have a handful of raisins (a saving of 35 calories per pie). If you host a buffet, offer some lean turkey meat instead of mini sausage rolls (a saving of 26 calories per roll). These small savings can quickly add up and pay dividends in January. So have a look at the table below and see just how many calories you could save this Christmas.
|FESTIVE FOOD (CALORIES PER 100g)||HEALTHY SUBSTITUTE (CALORIES PER 100g)||CALORIES SAVED PER 100g|
|Clotted Cream (586)||Natural Yogurt (63)||523|
|Christmas Pudding (330)||Fruit Salad (88)||242|
|Milk Chocolate (530)||Dark Chocolate (510)||20|
|Mince Pies (336)||Dried Raisins (272)||64|
|Mini Sausage Rolls (353)||Mini Turkey Pieces (182)||171|
Calories in Cream (Nutracheck)
Calories in Fruit Salad (Anne Collins Weight Loss Program)
Calories in Tesco Mini Sausage Roll – (Calorie Count)
Dark Chocolate – Health Benefits of Chocolate (Lake Champlain Chocolates)
Festive Foods (Weight Loss Resources)
The Mince Pie Minefield (IVillage.co.uk)
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