8 Of The Worst Foods At Christmas
Christmas is just around the corner and so is the giant meal!
The average person consumes a whopping 7,000 calories over the course of Christmas Day and the average festive dinner contains anything up to a staggering 90g of fat.
1. Christmas Pudding
Packed with sugar and alcohol and greased with butter and cream, this desert is dangerously heavy.
One serving of pudding contains about 360 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar.
Try this healthier version at home:
5-Minute No-Bake Christmas Puddings
- approximately 10 – 15 dates depending on their size
- zest from 1 orange
- 250g organic dried apricots, chopped
- 150 g (1 ½ cups) almond meal / ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed.
Divide puddings into 6 small puddings. The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mould with glad wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly. Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed.
You can use goji berries, fresh cherries or anything you fancy over the tops of the puddings to garnish. Alternatively omit the topping if you wish. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. Christmas Fruit Cake
Don’t let the name of this traditional dessert fool you, there’s nothing fruity or healthy about it. In fact, the amount of fruit that goes into this sweet is negligible and the fruit that is included is candied.
Just one serving of a store-bought fruit cake contains 470 calories, over 17 grams of fat, and 55 grams of sugar. If that wasn’t enough to sway you from your beloved cake, know that it’s also packed with corn syrup, flour and shortening.
Covered in a thick blanket of marzipan and fondant icing, it’s fun to decorate but a chore to finish it all.
Of course selecting fresh fruit is the best option as a nutrient rich, lower calorie alternative.
3. Mince Pies
Full of butter/ margarine, sugar, and notoriously fatty ingredients, the only thing these international foods are giving this holiday season is the gift of girth.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia found that to burn one mince pie, which contains about 368 calories and 25g fat a 75kg woman has to walk 6.2km.
Stop! Do your maths before putting that Christmas mince pie in your mouth.
Fresh, raw, unsalted nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pecans; high in Omega 3 essential fatty acid are the better choice.
A trifles’ layers of airy pudding, fruit and cake can trick you into thinking you’re eating a lighter dessert. But certain ingredients—liqueur-soaked cake, sugary preserved fruits, sweetened condensed milk, brownies and cookies, or copious amounts of heavy cream—can spell trouble.
Try this healthier version at home:
Dairy Free Coconut Berry Trifle Recipe
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk, full fat
- 1/8 teaspoon stevia
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 punnet of blueberries
- 1 punnet of strawberries
- Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Whenever you are ready to make the berry trifle, open the can at the top, scoop out the cream in the bowl and discard the liquid on the bottom of the can.
- Add stevia, vanilla extract (optional) and whip the cream with a mixer on high for a couple minutes, scraping it off the sides of the bowl with spatula, until the coconut cream is fluffy. You can refrigerate the whipped cream covered for up to 3 days. When ready to use, just let it sit on a countertop for 10 minutes to warm up and give it a quick whip.
- Assemble the trifles in individual glasses in the following order: 1-2 tablespoon of whipping cream, strawberries, whipped cream, blueberries, whipped cream. Garnish with berries on top. Use your creativity.
That thick gooey monstrosity combining milk, cream, sugar, the thick protein of runny eggs with an alcoholic kick will have you singing carols until the early morning.
Step…away…from the eggnog. Eggnog can contain a whopping 450 calories per cup (and who stops at one cup?).
- 4 cups of coconut milk
- 2 cups almond milk (rice milk)
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (or more) spiced rum or brandy (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- ¼ cup honey or a few drops of stevia extract (optional)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy.
6. Christmas Cookies
Christmas cookies can be loaded with calories, sugar, saturated fat, wheat, colourings, preservatives, etc. Best not to put your hand in the jar too many times!
Try this easy, sugar -free alternative.
- 1 cup whole rolled oats
- 1 cup dates * (soaked in water for about 30 minutes)
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
Place the oats and dates* in a food processor and mix until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Turn mixture onto a bench and roll out to about 1/2cm thick. Use cookie cutters to form shapes. Place on a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes until slightly golden.
7. Turkey Stuffing
For many the turkey and its stuffing is the highlight of Christmas Day.
A dish that consists mainly of bread, butter (or margarine), salt and in some cases sausages.
A cup of your average bread stuffing will set you back 175 calories. Add in sausage, and you’re staring down the barrel of 400 calories per cup side dish and a weeks worth of regret.
On top of that you get the risks of food poisoning from cooking the stuffing inside the turkey or failing to defrost a frozen bird properly. Stuffing goes into the middle of the bird and is extremely porous. That means that as the turkey around it cooks, juices that may contain salmonella bacteria soak into the stuffing.
Cooking your stuffing separately, outside the turkey is the safest and best way to go.
Choose gluten free breadcrumbs with your regular stuffing recipe. Any variety of rice works well as a stuffing, wild rice or brown rice. Quinoa is another tasty alternative to stuffing and is also a complete vegetarian protein.
Healthy Alternative Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon each MCT oil and extra virgin olive oil combined. Set aside for stuffing and rubbing on turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large apples, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups of organic chicken broth
- 1 1/2 sticks celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon each of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste