The Crazy Kitchen: Cocktail Glass Christmas Trifles with Splenda®

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Thursday 7 December 2017

Cocktail Glass Christmas Trifles with Splenda®

There's less than 3 weeks left now until the big day, and I'm feeling rather pleased with my organisational skills at the moment. The tree is up and most of the presents have been bought and wrapped. Inspired by Nigella and her year round twinkly lights, I've also put some fairy lights up in the kitchen this year, however, in my enthusiasm, I appear to have achieved the look of Santa's Grotto rather than Nigella's cosy kitchen. The husband is none too chuffed by my efforts to be super festive as I'm yet to introduce smart plugs into the kitchen, and there are a grand total of 7 sockets to turn off at the end of the night!

I've not yet dug out my spreadsheet for the Christmas food, but that part of the planning will hopefully get underway over the weekend. I'm not catering for as many guests on the big day this year but I'm sure that won't stop me making plenty of desserts, resulting in me inadvertently consuming far too many calories.

According to Consultant Dietician Helen Bond, on average people gain  between 1 and 5lbs over Christmas, and I've definitely been closer to the latter in previous years. This year I'm aiming for zero weight gain, so I need to be a little bit clever, as I don't want to miss out on all of the treats.

Reducing your sugar intake over Christmas can be a little tricky but by substituting sugar in desserts and drinks with Splenda® granulated low calorie sweetener means that you can still enjoy a few sweet treats, without the extra calories. As Splenda® is made with sucralose it's heat stable up to 232 degrees C, making it an ideal replacement for sugar in cakes and bakes.

Cocktail Glass Christmas Trifles with Splenda®

There are lots of recipes and ideas on the Splenda website, including Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, Mince Pies, Mulled Wine Jelly and Christmas Trifle, which would all be perfect for Christmas entertaining.

I decided to make the Christmas Trifle, and instead of making one large trifle I made smaller ones in cocktail glasses. Making individual desserts is a not only a more attractive way to serve trifle, it's also a great way to ensure that you don't eat one spoonful too many!

Cocktail Glass Christmas Trifles with Splenda®

My version of the trifle also includes Amaretto in place of Sherry, Madeira or Masala, as I absolutely love Amaretto, and the almond flavour goes really well with the spiced plums. I must admit that despite making trifle every Christmas I can take it or leave it really. I certainly don't like trifle with jelly in, and many trifles are really heavy, however this version, without the layer of cream on top, was much lighter, and the spiced plum layer was quite tart and paired well with the sweet custard.

Cocktail Glass Christmas Trifles with Splenda®

Helen Bond’s top 10 tips for negotiating festive feasting; from daily treats to New Year’s toast.
Top Tips:
1.     Always start the day with a healthy breakfast. It’s easy to miss this important meal, or give in and indulge in fatty croissants to ease that Christmas party hangover. But eating a good breakfast will help kick-start your metabolism and keep you feeling full, making it easier to ignore the inevitable chocolates lying around.  

2.     Get creative with your advent calendar. Even big kids love opening those little advent calendar doors – but, enjoying 25 days of chocolaty goodness will do your waistline no favours! A little chocolate Xmas character provides around 26 kcals, 1.5g fat, 2.8g sugar - even more if they are truffle or alcoholic filled – that’s an extra 650 kcals, 37.5g fat and 70g sugar over 25 days. Why not get creative with your countdown to Christmas, so you’ve got a daily treat, without the daily guilt. 

3.     Love seasonal fruit and veg. With the abundance of festive food, it can be easy to forget the basics of eating healthily and achieving the (at least) 5-a-day recommendation. I like to pile the veg on my plate first, rather than last.

4.     Make time for exercise. However well you plan, life is going to get hectic over the festive period, so schedule your 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise into your week now. Exercise is also a fabulous stress buster, as it releases endorphins, making you feel happier and calmer. 

5.     Don’t skip meals. If you’re going to the office party straight after work, or you’ve got a dinner date with friends, don’t ditch lunch for fear of overdoing your daily calorie intake. You’ll be famished and hungry people tend to make bad food decisions.

6.     Try not to burn the candle at both ends. Burning the festive candle at both ends, with parties during the week and weekend hosting duties, can also affect your waistline. Too little sleep can reduce the level of the appetite-controlling hormone leptin and increase the hormone ghrelin, telling the brain you need to eat – and not always the right healthy food choices.

7.     Rethink your tea breaks. Cut cutting down on the ‘white stuff’ is a tall order, especially around Christmas. It appears in so many of the traditional festive favourites, that it’s near impossible to keep track of how much you’re eating.  An easy win is to rethink your tea breaks; instead of adding sugar to your tea, swap to a low-calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA®. If you drink four cups of tea a day with two teaspoons (8g) of sugar in each cup - that adds up to 128 kcals. Your sweet tea also tots up to nearly one 1kg bag of sugar over the 25 days of December and 3,200 kcals! You, and your Xmas shopping could be a whole lot lighter for a simple sweet swap!

8.     Treat sweets as treats. The constant supply of treats from guests and salty savoury snacks at work can be too tempting to avoid. Keep healthier seasonal snacks, like clementines, to hand; a medium clementine has just 25 kcals and will provide you 31% of your daily needs for immune boosting vitamin C and 1g of gut healthy fibre.

9.     Wise-up to the buffet. Faced with a buffet, resist the temptation to start filling your plate at one end of the table and continuing to add to it until you reach the other. Before you pick up the plate (and always take the smallest one!), pause for a moment and then prioritise healthy choices; smoked salmon, slices of lean ham and vegetable crudités. Now, step away.

10.  Keep in mind portion size. Most of us are over-generous with serving sizes at Christmas and it’s a fact that the bigger your tableware, the more you’ll fill it. Research shows that simply downsizing from a 12 to 10-inch plate could help you eat roughly 22% fewer calories, and you’ll not feel like you are missing out. 

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Commissioned post for SPLENDA®

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