Thanksgiving is barely over and we’re already looking forward to the Christmas feast.
So many delicious things to eat – maybe some turkey, ham, a Christmas goose? All of the above? And don’t forget those sugar cookies and figgy pudding! Before you get over-excited and forget all about your past – and future – New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and shed some pounds, consider some foods you should probably skip this holiday.
Although you may be tempted by this classic Christmas drink, this is one of the worst things that could throw off your diet. Ingredients in this tasty treat include bourbon, eggs, whipped cream and sugar. Health.com points out that the drink can contain “343 calories, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, half of the USDA’s suggested daily limit, and 21 grams of sugar, almost a day’s worth.”
Try instead: That other special cold-weather drink: hot chocolate (minus the alcohol and the whipped cream, of course!)
Pie a la Mode
Mmm, just thinking about all those pies on the table, coming right out of the oven, is enough to give you thrills. Apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, mince pie, the possibilities are endless! While pecan pie has one of the highest calorie counts on the pie list, adding ice cream or whipped cream (or chocolate sauce and sprinkles, for that matter!) to any slice of pie is going to throw your daily intake off balance for sure.
Try instead: A simple slice of homemade apple pie. Those store-bought and restaurant-purchased pies also add to the calories!
There are differing opinions on turkey skin – some people love it, some hate it; some think it’s good for you, others don’t. The truth is, if you’re counting calories, you don’t want to count turkey skin. According to WHFoods.com, “removing the skin and visible fat from chicken and turkey can lower the fat content by about 50 percent.”
Try instead: Some white meat from the breast, which has the tastiest and most healthy alternative.
Stuffing is often a favorite side dish for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is often the first to go at family buffets. If you’re on a diet, you’ll want to stay away from sausage stuffing and other dishes that include meat (and the fats that are secreted from it).
Try instead: Plain stuffing, or stuffing simply enhanced by chestnuts or fruits like cranberries or apricots.
What could possibly be wrong with eating a gingerbread house, you say? Does your family love to make this special Christmas work of edible art, decorating it with icing, sprinkles, gumdrops, cookie crumbles and other teeth-shattering candies? This treat is one better made to admire than eat.
Try instead: If you must make one of these fun houses, use graham crackers instead of gingerbread, and decorate with nuts, seeds, dried fruits or pretzels.
Thumbprint cookies, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, snickerdoodles – what kind of cookie isn’t there for the holidays?
Try instead: Healthy alternatives for cookies all depend on what your dessert is made of. Try baking your own and bringing the cookies along as a thank-you to the hostess. A number of blogs give ideas, such as Chocolate Covered Katie‘s flourless chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, raspberry love bites, and skinny snickerdoodles.
Green Bean Casserole
Americans love their green bean casserole, especially when it’s covered in fried onions. Shape.com warns against this though, noting “the traditional green bean casserole recipe has a total of seven grams of fat, two of which are saturated and one and a half of which is trans-fat.”
Try instead: Green beans are good for you, especially when they’re fresh green beans and not canned or smothered in cream sauce.
Some families love to bring international dishes to the table, including this calorie-laden meal stuffed with meats, bread, beef broth and butter, which all adds up.
Try instead: Turkey meatballs are a healthier alternative to their beef counterparts as they’re leaner than beef. If you go with beef, opt for lean.
No matter what you decide to eat for Christmas, just remember to eat in moderation and to recognize exactly what it is you’re putting into your body. Do that and combine it with some regular exercise, and you’ll have no problem keeping your weight in check!