Festive sandwiches line the shelves of high street supermarkets and coffee shops across the country.
Christmas dinner between slices of bread, pigs in blankets on buns and brie and cranberry toasted sandwiches are just a few of the options available at the likes of Tesco, Waitrose and Pret.
While the holiday season is often thought of as a time for indulgence, some may be shocked to discover that these lunchtime treats pack more calories than a McDonald’s burger and fries.
Even some plant-based sandwiches have more calories than a fast food chain cheeseburger.
And that’s just for the sandwich. Nearly all stores offer a meal deal, which encourages people to buy drinks and snacks that can add hundreds of calories.
Experts advised Britons to only go for the festive sandwiches a few times during their lunch break between now and Christmas – and opt for the meal with less sugar and salt.
Christmas dinner between slices of bread, pigs in blankets on buns and brie and cranberry toasted sandwiches are just some of the options available at the likes of Tesco, Waitrose and Pret
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin
• Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
MailOnline looked at the nutritional content of about 80 festive-themed sandwiches on sale at 12 supermarkets and coffee chains, including Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Starbucks, and compared the highest-calorie option available in each store.
ASDA’s Festive Feast Triple Wrap (£3.30) turned out to be the most caloric, with a whopping 774 calories in three wraps, which are filled with turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing, gravy mayo and cranberry sauce.
This is more caloric than a McDonald’s Big Mac and small fries (730 calories).
Pret’s Christmas Lunch Baguette (£4.75) has the second worst calories, at 702 in the sandwich, which is filled with turkey, cranberry sauce, pork stuffing and crispy onions.
For context, this accounts for about 40 percent of a woman’s recommended 2,000 calories per day and 30 percent of a man’s 2,500 calories.
A specially selected Turkey and Pork Under Blankets Bloomer at Aldi (£2.49) contains 598 calories. That’s more than two McDonald’s Cheeseburgers (298 calories each).
Costa’s Vegan Pigs and Blankets Panini (£4.75) contains a whopping 571 calories. For comparison, this is equivalent to about three mince pies.
The Pigs Under Blanket Roll sold at Starbucks contains 545 calories – equivalent to two Kit Kay Chunky bars and a can of Coca-Cola.
Tesco’s Finest Smoked Turkey Club Sandwich (£3.25) is packed with 543 calories – about a whopping four packs of Walker’s Ready Salted Crisps.
A Pigs Under Blankets Tostati Melt at Caffe Nero (£4.50) contains 529 calories. This is more than six McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives.
The Christmas Triple sold at Boots (£3.35), which contains three different sandwiches – turkey, ham and cheese, has 520 calories. This is more than a KFC chicken drumstick and fries (445).
At Waitrose, the most caloric option is the Christmas Pigs Under Blankets sandwich (£3.50), which has 509 calories. This is equivalent to a small vanilla milkshake and brownie from McDonald’s.
Some were not only filled with calories, but were also full of salt. Adults are told to stick to less than 6g per day to avoid high blood pressure, while children, depending on their age, are told not to eat more than 2g.
But one option at Pret – the Christmas Lunch Baguette (£4.75) – had 3.05g per serving.
Meanwhile, Costa’s Vegan Pigs and Blankets Panini had 2.7g—despite possibly being considered healthier since it’s meat-free.
And while the lunchtime treats are seen as a savory option, some contain almost twice the sugar of sugary snacks.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Ultimate Christmas Dinner Feast (£4.50) contained 23.6g of sugar. For comparison, a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut has 12.6 g.
Eating too much sugar over time can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.
Dr. Duane Mellor, a dietician at Birmingham’s Aston Medical School, told MailOnline that while the sandwiches will be on sale for more than a month until December 25, they should only be eaten ‘once or maybe twice’, like a Christmas dinner.
He advised people to watch what’s in the sandwich — as people with multiple filling options “tend to add extra fat, salt, and sugar.”
“Some people might be surprised that there can be up to six teaspoons of sugar in a Christmas sandwich,” he said.
“And just because it’s plant-based doesn’t mean it’s healthy, as some of these can contain three-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar,” Dr Mellor added.
At the other end of the scale, the celebratory smoked salmon and soft cheese sandwich at Waitrose (£4.50) has just 325 calories, while a Shapers Turkey, Cranberry and Stuffing option at Boots (£3) has 337.
|The most delicious club sandwich with smoked turkey||543||15||2.02||£3.25|
|Gluten-free turkey sandwich & stuffing||348||1.7||1.33||€3.00|
|Brie and cranberry sandwich||387||6.8||1.17||£2.75|
|Turkey sandwich & garnish||469||7.5||1.82||€3.00|
|Pigs under blankets subrol||512||8.8||1.63||£2.75|
|Turkey, stuffing & cranberry sub||446||8.4||1.7||£2.75|
|Turkey Garnish Wrap||543||3.1||1.7||£2.75|
|Smoked ham and Wensleydale sandwich||415||9.5||1.7||£2.75|
|Plant Chef Carrot Vegetarian & Chestnut Wrap||383||14||1.1||£2.75|
|Tesco yule hog wrap||476||9.8||1.2||£2.75|
|Festive Party Sandwich||555||13||2.3||€3.00|
|Festive Party Triple Wrap||774||16||2.6||£3.30|
|Boxing Day sandwich||406||13||1.6||£2.50|
|Brie and cranberry sandwich||470||9.9||1.7||£2.50|
|Plant Pioneers No Pigs Under Blankets Sandwich||436||10.4||1.96||£2.95|
|By Sainsbury’s Boxing Day Wrap||442||8.8||1.18||£2.95|
|Taste the difference Hot smoked salmon sandwich||493||5.4||2.1||£4.25|
|Taste the difference Ultimate Christmas dinner party||522||23.6||2||£4.50|
|Vegan Boxing Day Wrap||442||8.8||1.18||£2.95|
|Brie & Cranberry sandwich||431||3.5||1.26||£2.95|
|Sandwich with salmon, dill and cream cheese||382||4.7||1.96||£2.95|
|Boxing Day Veggie Curry Wrap||442||8.8||1.18||£2.95|
|Taste the Festive Ploughman’s Difference||518||20.4||1.42||£2.95|
|Taste the Difference Shrimp Cocktail Sandwich||427||4.4||2.51||£3.25|
|Gluten-free turkey feast sandwich||455||6||1.68||€3.00|
|Pigs Under Blankets Sandwich||468||9.3||1.67||£2.95|
|Christmas Turkey, Stuffing & Bacon Sandwich||496||10.3||2.37||£4.00|
|Smoked Salmon & Soft Cheese Sandwich||325||4.5||1.93||£4.50|
|Christmas Brie, Cranberry With Spinach||426||9.6||1.44||€3.00|
|Christmas pigs under blankets||509||10||2.55||£3.50|
|Roast Chicken And Christmas Slaw||410||8.8||1.96||N/A|
|Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese||448||4.3||2.48||N/A|
|Brie and cranberries||490||11.7||1.67||N/A|
|Gluten-free turkey feast sandwich||460||10.3||2.31||N/A|
|Naughty and Spice Turkey Party Roll||466||12.4||2.5||£4.25|
|No turkey party||443||12.5||1.41||£3.50|
|Turkey Feast sandwich||511||8.5g||1.99g||£1.99|
|Turkey Party Wrap||489||6.5g||1.82g||£2.19|
|Tosti with turkey and trimmings||494||9.0g||2.02g||£1.75|
|Pigs under cheesy blankets Subrol||661||17.2g||2.25g||£2.49|
|Brie sandwich and spiced cranberry chutney||479||8.5g||1.44g||£1.99|
|Vegan Festive Party Sandwich||457||16.2g||1.39g||£1.79|
|Specially selected turkey and pigs under blankets Bloomer||598||18.0g||2.68g||£2.49|
|Smoked Salmon & Soft Cheese Sandwich||422||5.5g||2.20g||£1.90|
|Boxing Day Curry Wrap||339||7.2||0.86||£2.75|
|Pigs under blankets||438||9.2||1.52||£2.75|
|Morrisons Turkey Lunch Sandwich||437||7.5||2||£2.80|
|Vegetarian Party Sandwich||365||11.7||1.11||£2.75|
|Christmas Festive Baguette||566||8||2.54||£2.50|
|Cheese board sandwich||451||10.9||1.58||£2.75|
|Brie and cranberry sandwich||394||8.7||1.29||£2.75|
|Pigs under blankets||419||11||1.94||£3.15|
|Shapers turkey, cranberry and stuffing||337||9.1||1.36||€3.00|
|Vegan no turkey feast||360||10||1.86||€3.00|
|Turkey Feast Focaccia||512||11.5||2.15||£5.25|
|Pigs under blankets Tostati Melt||529||14.1||2.02||£4.50|
|Vegan Festive Feast Panini||497||9.6||1.8||£4.85|
|Costa British Turkey Feast||434||7.3||1.4|
|Turkey and the trimmings Toastie||443||7||1.7|
|Tosti with brie and cranberries||368||11||1||£3.45|
|Brie, Maple Bacon & Cranberry Stone Baked Panini||476||12||1.2|
|Vegan Pork and Blanket Panini||571||8.1||2.7||£4.75|
|Festive party Panini||471||6.4||1.92||£4.89|
|Brie and Cran-Cheerful Focaccia||445||6.8||1.42||£4.89|
|This is the Turkey Sandwich season||503||5.7||1.65||£4.19|
|Pigs under blanket roll||545||6.3||2.36||£4.89|
|Christmas lunch Baguette||702||2.60 pm||3.05||£4.75|
|Festive Falafel & Squash||527||21.10||1.73||£5.25|
|Pret Christmas lunch||549||3 p.m||2.13||£5.95|
|Beetroot Wellington Baguette||542||12.70||2.37||£5.25|
|Boxing Day Tosti||641||9.10||2.49||£5.95|
|Pigs in blankets warm bun||563||8.90||1.16||N/A|
|Brie & Cranberry Baguette||596||8.20||2.13||£5.25|
|Christmas Brunch Rye Bun||460||8am||1.65||N/A|