The Grossest Things About Holiday Meals

By: Dr. Alwyn Wong | Obesity | Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 10:26 AM

Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together for some quality time.  And many of these gatherings revolve around food. However, you may want to be cautious before reaching for the holiday stales as they’re often packed full of calories which can be disastrous for your waistline!

Foods that Are Full of Calories – From Sugar and Fat!

Holiday meals can be heavy on calories often leaving you feeling fat and guilty when you’re finished.  Minimize the amount of these calorie-packed foods around the holidays and you’ll feel better (and lighter) after dinner.

Swedish meatballs – these seem to be a staple at many holiday gatherings, but they’re full of calories from bread crumbs and butter.

Baked or stuffed potatoes – these are loaded with fat from the butter, cheese and sour-cream that they are topped with.  This means that they pack a punch when it comes to calories.  Opt for roast potatoes instead.

Roast (especially with gravy) and Prime rib – these cuts of meat contain so many calories from fat, especially when they’re topped with gravy.  Opt for lean white turkey (and go easy on the gravy) to decrease your calorie count.

Dark turkey meat (including the skin) – eating dark turkey meat, especially with the skin increases calories from fat. Be aware of which part of the turkey you eat, opt for the white meat and skip the skin.

Yorkshire pudding – it’s made with the fat drippings, so you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s unhealthy!

Cranberry sauce – while cranberries are a healthy food choice, cranberry sauce is not.  Cranberry sauce is packed with sugar and adds a ridiculous amount of calories to your meal. Use fresh berries to add flavour to your turkey to decrease the number of calories you consume.

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In addition to all of the unhealthy staples at the dinner table, there are so many sugary treats that are always present around the holidays.  The problem is that these sweet treats are packed full of calories from sugar.  In addition to the sugar high that you’ll get, you’ll also be taking in way too many calories which may lead to packing on an extra few pounds over the holiday season.

Christmas cookies – these pretty little cookies shaped into Christmas trees, reindeer and the like are packed full of calories from sugar (the frosting) and fat (the butter used to make the cookie).

Gingerbread houses – while these may be fun to build and decorate, eating gingerbread houses may add a few inches to your waist if you’re not careful. Think of the ingredients used to make one of these houses: gingerbread, sugary frosting and sugary candy!  This means that these houses are loaded with calories from and should be avoided.

Fruit cake – it’s got “fruit” in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Wrong! The fruit that is used in fruit cake is candied which means that it is covered in sugar syrup.  Therefore, the fruit used is no longer a healthy food option! Skip the fruit cake and grab some actual fruit instead.

Eggnog – while you may be tempted to reach for this beverage, steer clear.  It is loaded with calories and the majority of these calories come from fat.  A cup of eggnog contains 343 calories, with 171 calories coming from fat!  Not only is there a ton of fat in eggnog, it’s also incredibly high in cholesterol with about half of the recommended daily limit.

Candy canes – while candy canes are relatively low in calories, having approximately 45 calories per candy cane, essentially they are solid canes of sugar offering absolutely no nutritional value.

Make Healthy Food Part of Your Holiday

Making sure that you eat enough healthy food around the holidays is essential to maintain good health and to remain at an optimal weight.   If you’re going to a friend’s house for dinner, bring a healthy food snack such as a veggie or fruit tray.  You can make the healthy food look more festive by cutting the fruits into stars or bells or opt for red and green colour fruits and veggies.  And if you’re meeting friends for dinner at a restaurant, suggest one that also has healthy food choices.  If you’re worried about how much unhealthy food you’ll be eating when heading out for dinner, be sure to eat a nutritious breakfast (and lunch) full of healthy food.  This will help to keep you satisfied and you’ll be less likely to indulge in the fattening holiday food that you’ll be surrounded by.


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