The holidays are all about family, friends and food. Whether you prefer the appetizers, main course or desserts, there are plenty of temptations to go around during holiday parties. Rather than avoiding certain dishes that you think are bad, here are some of the worst holiday food offenders and why you should stay away from them.
Before you add any liquor, eggnog is still one of the worst holiday drinks you can consume. With the primary ingredients consisting of milk, cream and eggs, it’s no wonder this holiday drink can help add on some serious pounds. Instead of drinking eggnog, look for the traditional hot chocolate. With about one third of the calories, hot chocolate is definitely the better option if you’re looking for a hot winter drink.
Appetizers can be found all months of the year, but you’re the most vulnerable to consuming more than you should during the winter months. Crab cakes are one of those appetizers that are difficult to resist, regardless of the season. In the case of the crab cake, you’ll find imitation crab meat bound in mayo, rolled in breadcrumbs and dropped into a pot of boiling fat. This results in a fatty ball of calories that equals more than three dozen shrimp. That’s right, more than 36 shrimp. With that said, you might want to swap out those crab cakes for some shrimp cocktail. With fewer calories, you can eat more of them and be more satisfied.
You can’t get through the holidays without having a few nights where you overdo it with the holiday cocktails. Truth be told, some cocktails you can get away with drinking if they’re diet or low in sugar. The classic gin and tonic, however, is not an exception. Tonic water actually contains more than 20 grams of sugar per eight ounce serving, which puts it on the same level as any other lemon-lime soda. If you’re still looking for the bubbles and alcohol content, drink some champagne. It contains one fourth of the sugar and it makes you look way classier.
Not into liquor? That’s fine, because holiday parties are stocked with beer as well. The problem with beers in the winter is that they’re generally darker brews and heavier, such as porters. While these beers might warm you up, they’ll also make you heavier. When you can, opt for the lighter beer. It generally has fewer calories and still tastes great.
It’s finally time for the entree and you have your choice of chicken, turkey, or beef. Which one are you going to choose? Maybe if you knew that prime rib packed up to 750 calories, your decision would be a little bit easier. That’s right, the prime rib that you’ve loved for years comes from one of the fattiest parts of the cow. If beef is what you want, opt for the beef tenderloin. It will save you at least 50 to 100 calories and is just as tasty as the prime rib.
Ahh, the desserts of the holidays. Impossible to avoid and too good to resist. Holiday pies dominate most dessert tables, and it’s for good reason. They’re full of sugar and fat with just a touch of butter and fruit. While there are a lot of bad pies, the worst one you can consume would have to be the pecan pie. Sticky with corn syrup and sugar, the pecan pie is the worst offender on the dessert table for sure. If you still want dessert but would prefer to avoid the pecan pie, look for the chocolate fondue or angel food cake. Either of these options are much better for you and you’ll save tons of calories swapping out for them.
The holidays are among the worst times of the year to be dieting, especially because there’s always the temptation of amazing food that you really don’t have the opportunity to eat at any other time throughout the year. Instead of giving up everything you love, if you just make some very basic changes to your diet and swap one thing out for another, you’ll be able to focus less on what you’re eating and more on the people you’re spending your holidays with.
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Ann Michaels is a freelance writer who loves the holidays. When she’s not busy putting up her outdoor nativity scenes with her children, she enjoys cooking and baking for family and friends who come up every winter to spend the holidays with her family.