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The items nutritionists would choose from Christmas menus

Christmas is a time for indulgence, but it can be ruinous for those who want to avoid piling on the pounds ahead of the festive party season.

However two nutritionists have revealed how you can still tuck into festive treats on Christmas menus at the UK’s biggest coffee shops if you want to make healthy choices.

Michela Vagini and Cassandra Barns have shared with FEMAIL the items they would buy from Starbucks, EAT, Pret, and Caffè Nero, as well as the menu meals they would avoid purchasing.

And they say you can still enjoy a festive panini and a Christmas sandwich if you’re on a diet or want to avoid unhealthy dishes. 

PRET 

However Cassandra would avoid picking up a vegetarian sandwich such as the Very Merry Christmas Lunch

Michela Vagini and Cassandra Barns would both buy Pret’s Festive Winter Salad (left). However Cassandra would avoid picking up a vegetarian sandwich such as the Very Merry Christmas Lunch

What nutritionists would and wouldn’t order at coffee shops

PRET

BUY: Festive Winter Salad

AVOID: Melvin the Gingerbread Man, or any vegetarian sandwich

STARBUCKS

BUY: Turkey Feast Panini

AVOID: Three Cheeses & Cranberry Panini

CAFFE NERO

BUY: Ham Hock & Spiced Plum Chutney Gluten-Free Roll

AVOID: Brie and Bacon and Cranberry Panini or Amaretti Muffin 

EAT

BUY: Turkey Hot Pot  

AVOID: Pigs in Blankets, or Turkey, Stuffing & Crispy Onion Baguette

BUY: Festive Winter Salad

AVOID: Melvin the Gingerbread Man, or any vegetarian sandwich

Michela Vagini, nutritionist for Natures Plus vitamins, commented: ‘My first choice would be the festive winter salad. It has a good combination of vegetables, and it’s low in salt, high in fibre and moderate amount of sugars. There is also a good amount of proteins and low calorie content if you avoid the salad dressing.’

However she said she would avoid the gingerbread man, explaining: ‘These little temptations are full of sugar and empty calories. One gingerbread man contains 29.6g of sugar per 60g serving, so almost half of it is sugar!

‘It’s not the best ideas to indulge on them if you are trying to lose weight and fit into that lovely Christmas dress. It’s also not a good choice if you are at work and need a steady energy and sharp mind.’

Nutritionist Cassandra Barns agreed that the Festive Winter Salad was the best option. She also said she would avoid any vegetarian sandwich, explaining: ‘They contain so little protein in relation to the carbohydrates. They’re more likely to play havoc with your blood sugar, leaving you hankering for sweet treats later on to keep your energy up.’

She added: ‘If you’re going for a sandwich, I recommend the Smoked Salmon, Soft Cheese & Dill. You may not get as many veggies as in some of the other sandwiches, but there’s a decent amount of protein to balance out the carbohydrates in the bread and help balance your blood sugar.’

STARBUCKS

Both nutritionists say Starbucks' Turkey Feast Panini contains plenty of protein, which they approve of

They would both avoid picking up a Three Cheeses & Cranberry Panini due to the high fat content

Both nutritionists say Starbucks’ Turkey Feast Panini contains plenty of protein, which they approve of (left). They would both avoid picking up a Three Cheeses & Cranberry Panini due to the high fat content (right)

BUY: Turkey Feast Panini

AVOID: Three Cheeses & Cranberry Panini

Michela explained that even though the turkey panini has 435 calories, it is one of the paninis with the lowest amount of sugar.

She said: ‘Its high protein content is also beneficial as this will help keep you fuller for longer. The salt is still on the high side, with an average of 2.2g per serving.’

Both nutritionists would avoid ordering the Three Cheeses and Cranberry Panini, however.

Cassandra explained: ‘I’d be least likely to go for the Three Cheeses & Cranberry Panini, as it will give you 85 more calories, 10g of extra fat, 3g more sugar, and 6g less protein than the Turkey Feast.’

CAFFE NERO 

BUY: Ham Hock & Spiced Plum Chutney Gluten-Free Roll

AVOID: Brie and Bacon and Cranberry Panini or Amaretti Muffin

Michela, who says Caffè Nero has the healthiest sandwiches and paninis, said she would pick the gluten-free roll as it only has 4.9g of sugar, 5.7g of fibre, and 12.8g of protein.

It’s also Cassandra’s pick, as it’s lower in calories and carbohydrates than the cafe’s other options.

Michela would avoid buying the brie and bacon panini, explaining: ‘It has a very low nutritional profile as white bread and bacon are the main ingredients. It has a high level of sugars, at 9.4g per serving, and a relatively low fibre content.’

Cassandra meanwhile would avoid the Amaretti Muffin, commenting: ‘For a treat, perhaps the most reasonable choice is the Chocolate & Hazelnut Slice, and the one to avoid is the Amaretti Muffin. This is simply because according to the nutritional information, you’ll save yourself around 120 calories and over 25g of sugar – the equivalent of six teaspoons.’

EAT

The nutritionists would both buy EAT's Turkey Hot Pot due to the mix of protein and vegetables

Michela would avoid buying any of the Pigs in Blankets dishes as they are too high in salt

The nutritionists would both buy EAT’s Turkey Hot Pot due to the mix of protein and vegetables (left). Michela would avoid buying any of the Pigs in Blankets dishes as they are too high in salt

BUY: Turkey Hot Pot  

AVOID: Pigs in Blankets, or Turkey, Stuffing & Crispy Onion Baguette

Both nutritionists would pick the Turkey Hot Pot at EAT. Michela says it has ‘a good mix of vegetables and turkey. It also has a lower salt content per serving, lower carbs and lower calories compared to the rest.’

She would however avoid ordering any of the pigs in blankets dishes, as they are high in salt, with 3g per serving.

Cassandra meanwhile would avoid buying the Turkey, Stuffing & Crispy Onion Baguette, as it contains 635 calories and 79g of carbohydrates.

‘It’s likely to send you to sleep at your desk if this is your lunch,’ she explained. ‘It is offset by a good protein content, however, which is one point in its favour.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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