12 Days of Christmas: Festive Food Swaps

Rachel Dixon, a member of our healthy lifestyle team, talks about using festive food swaps to avoid the guilt that comes with overindulging during the festive season.

We’re in the final month of 2021 and I need to be inspired with a few festive food swaps!, It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the season to be merry is in full swing. There are feasts of delicious food awaiting!

As everyone pulls out the stops in the kitchen to serve me a slice of festive cheer, there’s likely to be an urge to break the healthy eating habits that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time building throughout the year. It’s not uncommon. If health habits could talk, there would almost inevitably be a point in the month where I’m ready to tell them to take a hike into the next decade. Giving me leeway to say yes to one, two, three (who’s counting really…) more mince pies.

Do you have a similar dilemma during the festive season?

I’ve been assured it’s not unusual to want too much of a good thing as Christmas approaches, even our health practitioners agree! But according to Dietitian, Karen Davies, the key to having the pleasure of food without the guilt is to be mindful but not to stress!

“December is upon us… a time for fun and celebration, however with that comes the pressure of additional calories through extra eating and drinking. Be mindful when choosing from that Christmas buffet or having seconds of Christmas lunch. I’m not suggesting anyone should calorie count over the festive season but a bit of smart damage limitation, that won’t spoil the celebration, may make stepping on the scales in January a bit sweeter!”

That’s why our team are combining their experience to tackle the moments when enjoying a treat suddenly becomes laden with more guilt than it’s worth.

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How can we help?

Our team have put together their top festive food swaps to get us through the run up to Christmas. Stay on track with the healthy habits you’ve adopted this year using ingredients that taste great without the guilt!

Maybe you haven’t stuck with your health goals and are feeling ready to give it another try? We are all about small, realistic and maintainable lifestyle changes as opposed to drastic diet fads which will only leave us feeling defeated and down when they inevitably don’t stick. And we all know, preparation is key to success.

Barcley West, a stop smoking service at One You Surrey, comments on the 12 Days of Christmas food swaps:

“When we quit smoking, we will begin looking for other alternatives to replace the habit. Here at One You Surrey, we want to make sure that the habits we replace smoking with are positive ones! We all love to divulge at Christmas, but these food swaps are great ways to make sure we don’t over-divulge!”

12 days of festive food swaps

Day 1

Swap beef mince for Quorn mince! Did you know that 100g of vegetarian mince (e.g. Quorn) contains around 2g of fat compared to around 12g in minced beef?

Day 2

Did you know a single jar of Dolmio bolognese sauce contains more than 6 cubes of sugars – that’s more than a Mars bar!

Day 3

f you would rather stick to meat, just opt for leaner cuts to reduce fat consumption! Swapping red meats for white meats such as turkey mince, which is naturally low in fat, is another great way to reduce your daily salt intake.

Day 4

By switching to low fat cheese, you could save up to 12g saturated fat and 160 calories per 100g!

Day 5

Calories from drinks can often catch us out and if we’re not careful can end up contributing to nearly half our recommended daily calorie intake!

Day 6

Swap bread, rice and pasta to wholegrain varieties.

Day 7

White potatoes don’t count towards your 5 a day but sweet potatoes do!

Day 8

Baking festive treats doesn’t have to be unhealthy! Instead of adding sugar to your recipes, try using fruit and spices. Not only will this cut down on your sugar intake, but will also contribute towards your 5 day!

Day 9

Fancy a snack at the Christmas party? Go for the crudités! It’s an option that’s usually available with buffet options and can help to balance out the more indulgent treats.

Day 10

Try switching from alcoholic drinks to mocktails! Although still not the lowest in sugar, mocktails will be a lot kinder on your liver and prevent the dreaded hangovers!

Day 11

Feeling good from my head tomatoes! Enjoy the festive fun without the headache with today’s mocktail idea!

Day 12

Compared to buying hot chocolates on the go, this one is sure to save you unnecessary sugar and fat consumption (and its delicious too!).