Just how much of our favourite festive treats should we consume this Christmas?
With the nights starting to draw in and the countdown to Christmas underway, supermarkets everywhere are stocking our favourite Christmas treats that help to turn the cold winter months into a cosy festive period. And with the range of Christmas goodies growing each year, it’s not hard to eat everything in sight on the run-up to the big day.
There are many aspects of Christmas that make it the most wonderful time of the year, from putting up decorations and listening to our favourite carols, to writing Christmas cards and donning our gaudiest festive jumpers. That said, there are times that many of us find the festive season to be overly stressful or exhausting, with so many things to consider and people to cater for.
For instance, while shopping for gifts for kids can be a headscratcher for the best of us, we all know that the effort we put in will be worth it on the big day. The unbounded joy when a child unwraps their presents on Christmas morning, whether a new doll’s pram or the latest video game, makes the whole ordeal worthwhile.
One thing we can all take comfort in, regardless of how festive we’re feeling, is the huge array of Christmas treats that line supermarket shelves and doubtless fill many of our cupboards. However, how much of these festive favourites should we really be eating to ensure we maintain a healthy, balanced diet?
We’ve pulled together the recommended portion size and nutritional value of some of the UK’s favourite Christmas treats to see just how much you should be eating this holiday season. Discover the full list of treats, including the most calorific, below!
Confections of a Chocoholic: Keeping Your Portions Below The Bar
Chocolate is everywhere at Christmas. From advent calendars to jumbo share boxes of British classics, there’s no getting away from these sweet treats. But how many of us are guilty of indulging in multiple individual chocolates or half a bar if it’s passed our way?
According to the recommended serving sizes, an 871g tub of Quality Street should contain approximately forty-six servings, which works out to just two sweets per serving! Similarly, another favourite Christmas chocolate, Toblerone, recommends just one individual triangle per serving, with each one containing 20g of sugar and 173 calories, more than any other chocolate in our study!
Toblerone is also the Christmas chocolate with the highest amount of fat per portion at 9.3g, while also having the most saturated fat at 5.5g per serving. However, the triangular Swiss chocolate has relatively low levels of salt per serving at 0.4g, with a box of celebrations being the saltiest chocolate at 0.11g per portion.
The most calorific Christmas cakes and desserts
Desserts are a prominent feature of Christmas time, during which we’re presented with all manner of cakes and sweet things. From a festive yule log to the traditional Christmas pudding, everyone has their favourite after-dinner indulgence they like to get stuck into.
However, if you’re looking to be mindful of calories, be aware that 1 portion of Christmas pudding contains 301 calories, while panettone is the biggest guilty pleasure at 342 calories per portion. A slice of yule log has 138 calories a slice and a portion of tiramisu for just 187 calories.
In addition to being the most calorific cake, panettone also has the highest amount of salt at 0.42g per serving. However, this iconic Italian sponge barely has half the amount of sugar per portion compared to the 44.6g that a Christmas pudding has. In comparison, chocolate profiteroles have the most fat (18.1g) and saturated fat (10.7g) in a single helping.
The most indulgent biscuits
Biscuits are another Christmas staple when it comes to treats and sweet things, especially when the weather is cold and hot drinks abound, there’s nothing better than a good biscuit to dunk in your brew.
Large biscuit tins containing all sorts of crumbly confections are a common sight on coffee tables and sideboards during the festive season, but just how many of these delicious treats should we allow ourselves?
The biscuits you might want to consume the most sparingly are Tesco’s Finest Belgian Biscuit Selection which, while looking extremely tempting and indulgent, have the highest number of calories, at 152 per serving. These luxury biscuits also have the highest fat (8g) and saturated fat (4.7g) per serving, so dieters may want to look elsewhere for their crunchy comforts.
Three different biscuits – Cadbury Snowy Fingers, Flipz Milk Chocolate Pretzels and Quality Street Mint Matchmakers all had the joint highest amount of sugar per portion at 8.3g. Meanwhile, the saltiest entrants are Mini Cheddars with 0.6g per serving, and yes we do recognise the controversy in how to categorise these ‘baked snacks’, but we feel that ‘savoury biscuit’ will suffice in this instance.
Keeping an eye on the crisps
What is a family get-together without a bowl or two of our favourite crisps? Whether enjoyed in front of some good Christmas telly or laid out as part of a family buffet, crisps are a guilty treat many of us overindulge in over the festive period.
Walkers Max Paprika are the crisps with the most calories per serving in our study at 265. These crisps also happen to have the highest fat content per serving at 16.3g, the highest amount of sugar per portion at 1.9g, and the highest amount of salt at 0.82g. However, Paprika Pringles have the most saturated fats per serving at 1.9g, which is 0.5g higher than Walkers Max.
Don’t forget about the sweets!
Our last category is often overlooked but just as important, as sweets and candies are some of the most common stocking-fillers out there loved by sweet-toothed adults and kids alike.
The candy with the most calories per serving is a classic Christmas confectionary, Turkish Delight. Fry’s Turkish delight was found to have 185 calories per serving, which is 34 more than Skittles, which took second place at 151 calories per helping.
Fry’s Turkish Delight was also the sweet treat with the most sugar per portion at 33g, as well as the most fat (3.4g) and saturated fat (2g) per serving. The sweet with the most salt per serving is a sherbert fountain, which surprisingly had as much as 0.81g in a single serving.
Comparing all our favourite Christmas treats
Want to see how all of our favourite Christmas treats compare when it comes to calories, sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat? Take a look at our full results table below.
We wanted to find out which of our favourite Christmas treats are the most unhealthy, and how much of each we should be eating in a single serving. To do this, we looked at the nutritional information published on the Tesco website alongside each food item in our study.