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Mince Pies and Christmas cheer – does it really need to be a sugar fest?

There’s no doubt about it, everywhere you turn in December there’s a tonne of sugar to ambush you with a cheeky “Go on it’s Christmas”!!

Whilst I absolutely don’t want to be a Bah Sugar Free Humbug about it, for some of us, it’s not really an option to throw caution to the wind and pile headlong into the white stuff!

One way to join in and embrace the spirit of Christmas without destroying the good work you put in during the past 11 months, is to make your own festive fayre using low sugar recipes, or sugar alternatives to sweeten.

Chocolates are great fun to make and incredibly simple (recipe coming soon), likewise biscotti and cookies! Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies, and here we have a fab recipe that takes only a couple of minutes to make.

The shop bought mincemeat is off-puttingly sweet for many people – dried fruit is mostly sugar anyway so you just don’t need to add a tonne more!

This version has many a convert even amongst those who don’t care what they eat! Dried fruit does at least contain great levels of potassium, as well as magnesium, iron and calcium; there’s even a smattering of vitamins in there too, so you’re not consuming empty calories! And you;ll be using pine nuts instead of suet because they taste great, contain no hydrogenated fats, are gluten free, and vegan friendly.

Gay’s sugar free mincemeat

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 4 eating apples – ideally Ribston Pippin or other traditional variety
  • 1 organic orange
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup pine nuts

Method

  1. Cut round the core of the apples leaving the peel on. Pulse in food processor until around 5mm chunks. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  2. Blitz dried fruit until it forms a ball and add to apples, mix well.
  3. Zest the citrus, and add to the bowl.
  4. Juice the citrus and add that too – mix well.
  5. Add the spices and pine nuts, and mix well.
  6. Transfer to clean glass jars and keep somewhere cool (a garage or shed is fine!).

By Charlotte Hunter, our nutritionist. Available for appointments on Fridays. 

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