Defeat Diabetes

12 surprising high carb Christmas treats (and the smart swaps to stay low carb)

4 mins read

Christmas is a time of joy, celebration, and many tempting treats! While indulging in the Christmas spirit, we still need to keep an eye on our blood sugar levels to maintain overall health. To help, we’ve listed the carb content of 12 of the most common foods and treats you’ll likely encounter over the festive season, along with suggested swaps, for a happy and healthy Christmas. 

12. Mixed Nuts

Carbs per 100 grams:  20 grams

Nuts are a nutritious and satisfying snack but the carb count can escalate quickly due to how moreish they are! Enjoy a mix of nuts in moderation, as they also provide essential fats and some protein. Our tip? Take a small palm-sized amount and move away from the nut bowl so you don’t keep dipping in! 

Try instead: Enjoy Cheese, nuts and strawberries; the protein and healthy fats from the cheese will help balance the carb load.

11. Turkey Stuffing

Carbs per 100 grams:  30 grams

Traditional stuffing is golden, crunchy, buttery and herb-y; it’s a real crowd-pleaser at any Christmas feast. However it’s also very high in carbs due to the bread content. 

Try instead: Low carb stuffing is a cinch to make using a low carb bread. Any supermarket brand that is 85% lower carb is your best bet. 

10. Cranberry Sauce

Carbs per 100 grams:  30 grams

Cranberry sauce adds a burst of flavour to holiday meals. But cranberries are relatively high in carbs, and commercial sauces often contain added sugars and other nasties. 

Try instead: Make your own sweet sauce or jam using a low carb fruit such as raspberries. Members love our Raspberry Jam recipe, perfect for toast or adding a sweet element to a roast turkey.

9. Pavlova

Carbs per 100 grams:  47 grams

Don’t be fooled by this lighter-than-air concoction; traditional pavolva still packs a hefty carb punch, dumping up to 47 grams of carbs into your blood stream with every serve! 

Try instead: Pavlova can be a lower-carb dessert option when prepared with sugar substitutes such as monkfruit or stevia and the egg whites provide a great protein-hit. Load it with fresh berries for added flavour and nutrients while keeping an eye on portion sizes.

Try instead: Mini Berry Pavlovas are a DD member favourite.

8. Mince Pies:

Carbs per 100 grams:  52 grams

Mince pies are a Christmas tradition, but their sugary filling and sweet pastry can really send your blood sugars soaring.  Stick to the cream with some gresh berries instead! 

Try instead: Opt for mini versions or consider making your own with almond meal and sugar substitutes like monkfruit

7. Christmas Cake:

Carbs per 100 grams:  53 grams

A symbol of the season, Christmas cake is rich and indulgent and 100 grams will take you over your target carb intake for the entire day! Just imagine the havoc it will wreak on your blood sugars!. 

Try instead: Manage your carb intake by choosing smaller slices or exploring recipes using incorporating almond or coconut flours and sweeteners for a blood sugar-friendly option.

6. Custard:

Carbs per 100 grams:  17 grams

Creamy custard is a velvety addition to many holiday desserts. While it contains a fair amount of carbs, you can easily make it sugar-free with a sweetener and the egg yolks make it a pretty good protein source. 

Try instead; Ditch the custard and opt for full fat cream instead. 

5. Roast Potatoes:

Carbs per 100 grams:  17 grams

Roast potatoes are a delicious staple of Christmas dinners but we’re sad to report that they have the highest carb count of any of the usual Christmas veg. 

Try instead: Opt for smaller portions and fill your plate with extra green veg and roast meat instead! 

4. Panettone:

Carbs per 100 grams:  51 grams

This Italian Christmas treat is no normal bread; adding fruit, sugar and flour means it packs a whopping 51 grams of carb. 

Try instead: Try making Defeat Diabetes Lemon and Blueberry cake instead. 

3. Gingerbread:

Carbs per 100 grams: 65 grams

A holiday favourite, gingerbread brings warmth and spice to the season. While it contains a decent amount of carbs, it can be easily made low carb with a few clever substitutes. 

Try instead: Our Healthy Gingerbread Cookies are perfectly spiced and deliciously crunchy, with only 1 gram carb per serve.

2. Rocky Road:

Carbs per 100 grams: 66 grams

It might taste delicious, but the combination of chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts in rocky road means it’s a sugar explosion waiting to happen in your blood stream. 

Try instead: Make a healthier homemade version like our Chocolate Bark or Sweet and Salty White Chocolate Bark to enjoy the festive flavours with fewer carbs.

1.Coconut Ice:

Carbs per 100 grams: 73 grams

Coconut ice is a classic holiday treat, but it tops our list of the most sugar-filled Christmas treats. Have a bite if you must, but know that these little morsels will definitely raise blood sugar levels, and fast!

Try instead: Defeat Diabetes Healthy Coconut Ice, at only 1 gram carb per serve, you can indulge in this treat knowing your blood sugar levels are sweet!

As you navigate the temptations of the silly season, remember that moderation, awareness of portion sizes, and mindful food choices can help maintain stable blood sugar levels. By making informed decisions about your holiday indulgences, you can savour the flavours of Christmas while prioritising your health. Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!


Related articles

By Defeat Diabetes

< 1 min read

6 low carb dinners ready in 30 minutes or less
By Defeat Diabetes

< 1 min read

7 low carb lunch ideas for busy days
By Defeat Diabetes

< 1 min read

5 easy low carb hearty dinners
By Defeat Diabetes

2 mins read

The essential guide to low carb vs low GI
The scary side of convenience: The reality of junk food’s health impact
By Defeat Diabetes

3 mins read

5 best low carb protein powders

Join Australia's first doctor-led, evidence-based program transforming the lives of those with pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.

  • Deep-dive lessons
  • Video masterclasses
  • Easy-to-read articles
  • 250+ low carb recipes
  • Weekly meal plans
  • Community support