Count the calories in your festive treats

It”s the nibbles that do for our waistlines at Christmas. To help you choose wisely, nutritionist Angela Dowden gives her verdicts on snacks in terms of calories.


Six calories, 0.6g fat per olive

Olives satisfy a savoury craving with very little waistline impact – an average black olive has only around six calories. They are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturates, but you”d need around 22 olives – which would supply half your recommended daily salt – to count as a vegetable portion.

Olives Mince pie

Tuck in: Olives are better for your waistline than mince pies


220 calories, 8g fat per pie

Ok, they are made with dried fruit, which means, in theory, that two mince pies can count as one of your five a day. But there couldn”t be an unhealthier delivery system for fruit – with butter-rich pies containing a quarter of your daily saturated fat limit and five level teaspoons of sugar each.


20 calories, 0.6g fat per almond

Better without the sugar coating, but sugared almonds do, of course, provide the goodness found in nuts, which includes fibre, calcium and magnesium (for strong bones) and – in just four almonds – 2mg of vitamin E, or half your basic daily requirement of this important antioxidant, which protects your skin from damage.

Sugared almonds Pigs in blankets

Consider your options: Sugared almonds have some goodness but pigs in blankets are best avoided


42 calories, 3.1g fat each

The average mini pork sausage wrapped in bacon has less than 50 calories, but one is gone in a trice, leaving you wanting more. And if you grab four, you will be getting one sixth of your daily limit of cholesterol raising saturated fat in just a few small mouthfuls. This is one salty snack to try to avoid this Christmas – choose olives instead!


25 calories, 0.2g fat per nut

The only low-fat nut, chestnuts contain a fraction of the calories of other types. They”re also a source of carbohydrate to keep blood sugar and energy levels stoked. Four of the nuts supply approximately a quarter of your daily fibre content – giving a helping hand to a digestion made sluggish by overindulgence.


58 calories, 0g fat per piece

Virtually fat-free, but with an astonishing 13g – or around three level teaspoons of sugar – per piece. Sugar can send blood glucose see-sawing, making it harder to keep energy levels steady and appetite under control. Eating one or two pieces of Turkish delight instead of dessert is the way to go.