10 December 2020

Christmas Smart Swaps

The festive period is probably the most indulgent time of the year

With supermarket shelves stacked high with sweet temptations, and our city centres flooded with German bratwurst stands and French crepes – it can be hard to stay on track and motivated if you are on a weight loss journey.

So to kick off the festive food shop, we have looked at some of the most traditional Christmas food choices and created smart swaps and healthier alternatives. This means that you can reduce the excess sugar, fat and calories but don’t have to miss out on all the festive treats!


The Alternative Christmas Dinner

Making subtle changes to the famous Christmas Day roast dinner could half the number of calories!
Here are our smart swaps which makes our favourite festive tradition that little bit healthier and more suitable to a post-weight loss surgery diet.

Traditional Roast Potatoes

Reducing the amount of fat used (100g/ml for 6 portions instead of 4 portions) saves you 8g of fat and 94 calories per serving. Using olive oil instead of goose fat also reduces the amount of saturated fat. Too much saturated fat in the diet can cause detrimental changes in the balance of the types of cholesterol in the blood.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1303/ultimate-roast-potatoes

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/paprika-roast-potatoes


Classic Pigs in Blankets

Chipolatas are usually used to serve a classic pigs in blankets dish can be easily replaced with cocktail sausages which adds a hint of sweetness from the prunes and honey. This cuts the fat intake by 9g, a huge difference for a side dish, and you also cut out the extra 92 calories.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/classic-pigs-blankets

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/893638/bacon-sausage-and-prune-rolls


Traditional Stuffing – Sausage, Sage and Onion

The main ingredient of traditional stuffing is the large amount of sausage meat it takes to create this dish, per serving you’re looking at around 328 calories and 22g of fat so if you’d prefer a lighter bite, apricot and hazelnut stuffing could be your answer, saving 204 calories per serving and knocking off 15g of fat.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3056/sausage-sage-and-onion-stuffing

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3054/apricot-and-hazelnut-stuffing


Traditional Christmas Pudding

If you’ve managed to hold out for dessert, the Christmas pudding is the classic way to go. Usually packed with citrus and spice, this loaded dessert holds around 596 calories per serving with 69g of sugar.

If you’re fancying something a little lighter, a suits-all Christmas cake packed with orange, cinnamon and rose contains 396 calories per serving, saving you 200 calories with nutritious ingredient swaps.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8370/christmas-pudding-with-citrus-and-spice

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/suits-all-christmas-cake

Festive Treats and Sweets

Traditional Mince Pies

Christmas in a bite, traditional mince pies are the festive season all over. Sugar and butter take lead as main ingredients but if you fancy some new flavours; orange, cranberry & almond might be the answer. This alternative recipe will shed 70 calories per mince pie and slide off 2g of sugar.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1813664/mince-pies

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/69612/orange-cranberry-and-almond-mince-pies


Mulled Wine

Keeping us cosy, mulled wine can be spotted several times when visiting the Christmas markets and with such a rich flavour comes a pocket full of sugar, with mulled wine containing around 13.6g per serving. The Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine and Cloves is a great alternative with natural ingredients, delivering a huge 155 calorie cut to mulled wine.

Traditional: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/69604/sloe-mulled-wine-

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-apple-syrup-clementine-and-clove


Chocolate Tins

After comparing four of the most popular chocolate tins bought on the run-up to Christmas, we looked at the average of each of these servings, finding that roughly every handful of chocolates is 128 calories with a whopping 17.7g of sugar. If you’re thinking of making your own treats this season, we suggest homemade peppermint creams which cuts out 76 calories per serving and is also fat-free if the optional chocolate is not used.

Alternative: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/peppermint-creams

Alternatives to your Cheese Board

If you are thinking of switching up the Christmas cheese board and serving some different options, these swaps offer a low-fat alternative.

Cheddar for Camembert

Classic Cheddar is a cheeseboard classic which is 126 calories per 30g serving. Surprisingly the Camembert was found to be a healthier alternative. This soft cheese is 85 calories per 30g serving, saving you 42 calories each go around.

Wensleydale for Feta

Wensleydale is around 108 calories per 30g serving with 8g of fat. Feta cheese is also a similar texture for your taste buds and only 79 calories per 30g serving and with only 6g fat how could you say no?

Nobody wants to miss out on Christmas traditions which is why these simple ingredient swaps on some of our most-loved festive dishes keep our taste buds happy whilst maintaining a healthy balance.

Are you ready to make a positive change in 2019?

If you have tried diets and exercise but it hasn’t given you the results you need then weight loss surgery could have crossed your mind. Here at the Hospital Group, we offer gastric band, bypass and sleeve surgeries along with support from our team of experts who can give you the guidance and tools you need to achieve your goals.


Book your free consultation



Cheese nutritional information is taken from the WLR Food Database which lists the most popular cheeses, unbranded. Below are the original sources of each cheese used for this study.









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