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Don’t be a (Christmas) pudding!

Don’t be a (Christmas) pudding!

Food is one of the central elements of celebrating over Christmas. However, with the nation in the grip of an obesity epidemic, some customers will be looking for healthier options to help the bulge over the festive period.

The food industry as a whole is being encouraged to play its part, so it pays to be mindful of good nutrition and clean eating options at this time of year. Be sure to advertise your wholesome options too – as it could be a catalyst to attract new business.

Healthier options

Soup-er stars

Vegetable soups are a delicious and nutritious starter or takeaway option to get customers well on their way to their 5 a day. Try celeriac, hazelnut and truffle; cauliflower and chestnut; and spiced parsnip and ham.

Head to the Med

Mediterranean inspired dishes are bursting with goodness. For a festive twist, create an antipasto Christmas wreath as a sharing platter or takeaway option

For starters

Melon is an ideal low-calorie starter, while smoked salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy hearts

Get stuffed

Make your own healthy stuffing balls using wholemeal breadcrumbs and pack with chestnuts, almonds and apricots rather than fatty sausage meat

Get grilling

Pimp up sprouts and therefore encourage people to eat them by chargrilling them, tossing them in olive oil and garlic, and sprinkling with chilli flakes

Simple swaps

Substitute mashed potato with creamy mashed cauliflower and roasted potatoes with roasted beets for added vitamins and lower carbs


Use whole potatoes for roasting, rather than small chunks which absorb more fat. Toss them in unsaturated oil, like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil rather than lard or goose fat

The gravy train

With most Christmas dinner lovers enjoying a smothering of gravy, opt for a healthier mix. Try Essential Cuisine’s No 1 savoury gravy, which is vegan, gluten-free and meets Department of Health 2017 salt targets. If you’re using turkey juices, cool them off and skim off the fat before adding to the gravy


Offer lower fat alternatives to brandy butter and fresh cream, such as low-fat crème fraiche, or make custard using skimmed milk

Child’s play

Keep the kids (and their parents) happy with watermelon Christmas trees drizzled with piped yoghurt and frozen; banana and strawberry candy canes

The facts

The Health Survey for England 2019 estimated that 28% of adults in England are obese and a further 36% are overweight.

This equates to an estimated 35 million people who are overweight or obese.

20% Year 6 (age 10-11) pupils are classified as obese.

On Christmas Day itself, we can eat as many as 6,000 calories – three times what is needed for an average woman aged 18-54.

The average weight gain per person over the festive period is 5lbs (2kg).

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