The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

The Healthy Food Guide team picks their favourite free-from Christmas products

Liz’s pick: vegan-friendly alternative to turkey
Proving flavour is more important than looks, Fry’s Soy & Quinoa Country Roast won’t leave vegans feeling short-changed at the festive table. In fact, they may have to part with a slice or two – the herby taste and texture work beautifully with roasties and traditional Christmas veg. Serves 4 to 6.

£5.75/500g, Holland & Barrett, Booths, independent health food stores, Ocado, Goodness Direct.

Per serving (based on serves 4): 206kcal, 12.3g fat, 1.8g saturates, 3.1g sugar, 2g salt

Laura’s pick: Christmas morning crowdpleaser
Make your festive breakfast with minimal fuss with these light and fluffy gluten-free pancakes from Genius. Gently heat a stack in the oven and let everyone pile on their own toppings – our favourite combo is fresh berries, low-fat yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

£2/pack of 6 pancakes, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Ocado

Per pancake: 83kcal, 1.2g fat, 0.1g saturates, 6.9g sugars, 0.3g salt

Kat’s pick: gluten-free Christmas cake (dairy-free optional)
No one should be deprived of a slice of Christmas cake on Christmas day just because of a food allergy… This cake can cater to both gluten and dairy allergies. It’s moist, fruity and the perfect addition to a Christmas dinner table. Serves 12.

£5/bag of cake mix, Delicious Alchemy

Per serving: 277kcal, 9.5g fat, 5.6g saturates, 30.3g sugars, 0.1g salt

Mel’s pick: dairy-free chocolate bar

Can’t eat dairy? Then bypass the standard selection boxes for a bar of raw chocolate. Melt-in-the-mouth Ombar is made from coconut sugar and cacao butter. Not roasting the cacao beans keeps in lots of the good stuff. There are 10 flavours to choose from – all in sensible 35g portion sizes. Favourites are the Lemon + Green Tea and the Chocolate, Cranberry & Mandarin. The 72% raw cacao is good for cake making and melting. What it cuts back in sugar it makes up for in saturated fat, so don’t eat your way through the portfolio!

Per 35g bar (Lemon + Green Tea): 175kcal, 13g fat, 11g saturates, 15g carbs, 11g sugars, 3g fibre, 2g protein

Tina’s pick: gluten-free Christmas pudding

You could spend a lot of time looking for a gluten-free pud that tastes traditional… or you could take my word for it and plump for Cole’s fruity, just-as-juicy-as-the-real-thing version. Free from alcohol and nuts and suitable for vegetarians, too.

£8.99/454g, Ocado

Per serving (1/4 pudding): 372kcal, 10.1g fat, 50.5g sugars, 1.2g salt