You can’t escape it. From highly anticipated tear-jerking TV adverts to the overly excitable supermarket shelves (festive bleach, anyone?), Christmas is coming. Whatever makes the holiday season extra special for you, it’s hard to deny that food plays a massive part in the festivities. But if you’re making an effort to avoid your trigger foods, Christmas can feel a bit overwhelming and it can be tempting to give in to foods you know won’t do you any favours, simple because it’s easier, and nobody likes feeling like a party pooper.
However, with the increasing demand for FreeFrom alternatives, it seems that the supermarkets are listening. The aisles have expanded to offer a variety of tempting treats and festive foods to make sure no-one has to go without. But are they any good?
We selected a range of FreeFrom Christmas goodies from 3 major supermarkets, (Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose) and offered them around the YorkTest office in a blind taste test to find out which ones Yule be likely to enjoy (sorry!)
FreeFrom Mince Pies
Plated up there was little to tell these festive favourites apart. However, the blind taste test revealed a clear loser amongst these dairy, wheat and gluten free mince pies!
ASDA (gluten, wheat and dairy free) 0/6 “Not keen on pastry at all!”
SAINSBURYS (gluten, wheat and dairy free) 3/6 “Crispy pastry and a lovely flavour”
WAITROSE (gluten, wheat and dairy free) 3/6 “Fruity and lots of filling”
Iced Christmas Cake
Love it or hate it, Christmas cake is a standard seasonal staple – there’s bound to be someone demanding it. If they’re avoiding gluten, wheat or dairy, it’s helpful to know that supermarket options for FreeFrom and gluten free christmas cake are available. Again, there was a clear loser in the taste test!
ASDA (Gluten and wheat free) 0/6 “Tastes very synthetic!”
SAINSBURYS (dairy, wheat and gluten free) 3/6 “Best taste and texture”
WAITROSE (Gluten and dairy free) 3/6 “Very nice flavour”
With or without cream, steamed, microwaved or doused in brandy and set alight, the Christmas pudding is a mainstay of the festive table. The question is, how do these dairy, wheat, and gluten free Christmas pudding options compare? Office opinions on the three FreeFrom offerings were certainly divided!
ASDA (Gluten, wheat and dairy free) 2/6 “The only one that didn’t make me wince!”
SAINSBURYS (Dairy and gluten free) 1/6 “Best taste and most moist”
WAITROSE (Dairy, gluten and egg free) 3/6 “Moist and tasty”
What did our Nutritional Therapist think?
“I was impressed with the Christmas Puddings (being a Christmas pud fiend) although they weren’t as good as my mum’s (goes without saying…) I don’t think I’d know they were FreeFrom.
One of the Christmas Cakes was very good and again, I don’t think I’d know it was FreeFrom. One was very dry and the other had an after-taste.
I found the mince pies all disappointing – very sweet, stodgy pastry and I’d have guessed that they were FreeFrom.
Of course, taste is all subjective and, whilst it’s good to know there are several decent tasting FreeFrom Christmas foods in one Supermarket, I was very concerned with the sugar content in all of the treats
A tiny piece of the Christmas cake contained around 5 teaspoons of sugar which is alarming. To be certain what you’re eating, both in terms of sugar content and the trigger foods you’re looking to avoid, it’s always best to make your own.”
Do you often feel bloated? Perhaps frequent tiredness or headaches are affecting you? It could be time to take a deeper look at your diet. From turkey to cranberries, any ingredient could be a trigger for you and, on average, we find our customers react to between 4 and 6.
The Food&DrinkScan Programme analyses 158 food and drink ingredients, providing you with a clear list of your problem foods so you can make the changes needed to help you feel your best.