With so many sweet, addictive treats hitting the shelves in the run up to Christmas, it can be hard to stay focused and keep motivated towards the end of the year. So, we thought we’d put together a few helpful tips on how you can enjoy a low-sugar Christmas.
Avoid festive hot drinks
Whether you’re Christmas shopping with friends or on your lunch break at work, avoid ordering that Eggnog Latte or Black Forest Hot Chocolate. Nearly all festive hot drinks on our high street menus are packed with more than the average recommended daily intake for adults. Our friends Action on Sugar carried out a survey that may be useful for you. You can read it here.
The guidance for an adult is not to exceed 30g of added sugar per day, and some of these festive-flavoured drinks contain a staggering 50g! That’s nearly DOUBLE your sugar intake in a few sips.
Stick to your regular tea and coffee choices to keep the sugar at bay.
Make others aware
Make sure friends, family and work colleagues are aware that you are reducing your sugar intake. If you don’t make them aware, sugar will still be pushed towards you regularly, making you more likely to give in to sugar-laden foods. Having people around to supporting you can be key to sticking to your low-sugar diet.
If friends or family members are passing round the Quality Street tin, make sure you have something healthy to had that you can snack on. Being prepared will reduce the risk of you giving in and undoing your hard work. You could try a zesty satsuma or a handful of almonds.
Ask others not to buy you food-based gifts
We all know Christmas is a time for giving, but if you’re sticking to low-sugar alternatives and watching your sugar intake, then be sure to let people around you know that you would prefer not to be gifted with tins of biscuits, Christmas cakes or sweet jars. Other presents give lasting memories rather than a sweet treat, all to be forgotten in a few minutes. Giving people the heads up with automatically save you from the sugar without any stress or hassle.
Swap the chocolate
If you’re a real chocolate lover and still want a little something this Christmas, make sure you switch to dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar content and even 70% Cocoa will satisfy your sweet tooth. A 40g bar of milk chocolate contains over 7 teaspoons of sugar, whereas a 40g bar of dark chocolate can contain just 3 teaspoons.
Read more about the sugar content of chocolate by clicking here.
Shop around for the sugar content
Don’t forget to look at the sugar content before purchasing. Some brands of mince pies have double the sugar content of others. Why do the manufactures do that? It is to mask poor flavours and increase shelf life. If you want better tasting mince pies go for the ones with lower added sugar.
Click here to find out what high-street mince pies are better to buy if you’re reducing your sugar intake over Christmas.
As well as this, you can also take a look below at how sugar content compares in your favourite high street mince pies this year…
|Name||Calories (kcal)||Sugar (per pie)|
|Sainsburys (Deep filled)||230kcal||13.4g|
|Sainsburys (All Butter)||212kcal||21.5g|
Still not convinced?
Take a look at our sugar content chart for this year’s Christmas pudding. Even the Christmas pudding with the lowest sugar content is only 2.3g away from your recommended daily intake as an adult!
|Name||Calories (kcal)||Sugar (per 100g)|
|Sainsburys Taste the Difference||312kcal||41.3g|
Stock up on alternatives
Whilst we are on the subject of alternatives, why not stock up on healthier snacks to keep in the kitchen. Swap cheese biscuits and minces pies for roasted chestnuts, dates and satsumas. It might also be worth putting sugary snacks back in the cupboard whilst family and friends are relaxing. Keeping cakes and other Christmas foods on the table can encourage you to graze throughout the day, which leads to overeating.
Another great alternative is to make your own cranberry sauce. Shop bought cranberry sauce is jam-packed full of sugar (around 4.1g per teaspoon), so here’s a simple recipe that’s quick, easy and full of flavour:
- 100ml orange juice, fresh or from a carton
- 250g pack cranberries (frozen or fresh)
Firstly, pour orange juice into a pan, then bring to the boil. Stir in the cranberries, then simmer until they are tender but still holding their shape. This will take about 5 minutes if using frozen cranberries or 8-10 mins if using fresh ones. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Note: The sauce will keep in the fridge for 1 week. On the day, bring to room temperature before serving.
How sweet are you?
Take the sugar quiz by clicking on the image below…